World Heart Day: All You Need To Know About Cardiovascular Diseases
Created by the World Heart Federation, World Heart Day is an annual event celebrated on the 29th of September with the purpose of spreading awareness about cardiovascular diseases. Cardiovascular diseases are accountable for approximately half of the deaths in the world caused by non-communicable diseases and collectively claim around 17.5 million lives each year.
Therefore, it is crucial to spread awareness regarding the ways to protect ourselves from the world’s number one killer, which is why the World Heart Day was conceived in the first place. Here is all you need to know about cardiovascular diseases along with some effective tips for a healthier heart.
Different Types of Cardiovascular Diseases
Cardiovascular diseases do not refer solely to heart diseases or heart attacks but are in fact a family of diseases of the circulatory system, which includes the heart as well as the blood vessels. Some of the commonly occurring cardiovascular diseases include Ischemic Heart Disease, which refers to issues with the circulation of blood to the heart muscle, Cerebrovascular Disease or Stroke, which is caused by a poor supply of blood to the brain, and Heart Failure that may occur due to a heart attack or other factors such as excessive alcohol consumption or a heart muscle disease. Some of the other common examples of cardiovascular diseases are Peripheral Vascular Disease that causes poor circulation in the legs, Rheumatic Heart Disease that starts as an infection and affects the joints and the heart valves, and Congenital Heart Disease which refers to structural issues with the heart caused by birth defects.
Common Causes of Heart Diseases
Although some people are born with conditions that increase the risk of heart diseases and strokes in the later stages of life, a majority of the causes of cardiovascular diseases are linked to lifestyle choices. For example, a cholesterol heavy diet, smoking, and lack of physical exercise are some of the factors that are known to lead to cardiovascular diseases. These unhealthy habits result in Atherosclerosis or the narrowing of the arteries due to fatty deposits. Atherosclerosis may go undetected for a long time until it produces severe and life threatening outcomes such as a heart attack or a stroke.
Tips for Better Heart Health
Some of the most beneficial tips for a healthier heart involve making better lifestyle choices. Leading an active lifestyle that includes regular exercise is the best way to keep your heart healthy. Combine this with a well balanced and wholesome diet that has a low-fat content and avoid smoking altogether. Opt for fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meat, and whole grains while staying away from processed foods as much as possible. Control your salt intake to keep your blood pressure in check, which in turn will lower your risk of heart disease. Also, try to maintain a healthy weight at all times and calculate your Body Mass Index or BMI from time to time to make sure that you fall in the healthy bracket. Get your glucose and cholesterol levels as well as your blood pressure checked regularly and seek medical advice if you see abnormal spikes in any of these. In case you do suffer from a heart disease, promptly seek proper medical attention and take your medication diligently. You can still make changes to your lifestyle to prevent further damage to your body and to restore your cardiovascular health.
Reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases is fairly simple if you are willing to stay disciplined about your diet and exercise and get yourself checked regularly. This World Heart Day, make positive changes in your life to eliminate the chances of a heart disease and encourage your loved ones to do the same. After all, we all have just one life and should try to make it as long and disease free as possible to enjoy it to the fullest.