The term cardiovascular disease refers to issues involving not only the heart itself, but the proper flow of blood to the heart and other organs. The most well-known conditions are heart attacks, strokes and high blood pressure (hypertension). According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heart attacks are the leading cause of death for men and women and strokes are the fifth most likely. There are ways to help prevent cardiovascular issues that cause illness and death.
Preventative Measures You Can Take
For those who have been diagnosed with heart disease, medication is available and may be prescribed by a cardiologist to help prevent more incidents. Additionally, there are things you can do to augment the benefits the medicine can provide. These activities and habits will benefit both heart patients and those who have not had cardiovascular problems. Maintaining a healthy weight, not smoking, watching cholesterol levels and keeping blood pressure under control are all necessary steps for heart health. Those measures, in addition to keeping blood sugar at proper levels, proper exercise and diet make up the American Heart Association’s “Super 7” list to help prevent heart attacks and strokes. But some preventative activities or habits may be surprising. They include yoga, strong friendships and a diet that includes green tea and fish.
The practice of yoga goes back to ancient India and may be used today to make the mind more tranquil or to improve flexibility. The positions of yoga can be combined with meditation, mind-clearing and relaxation. The cardiovascular benefits are measurable, too. Stress can cause a temporary increase in blood pressure. Yoga serves as a stress reliever and helps the respiratory system. It is notable that lower blood pressure has been observed immediately after a yoga session. In those who practice yoga, blood pressure and heart rates are improved. While not considered active exercise, yoga does benefit the cardiovascular system. Yoga can be incorporated into a program that includes more physical activity, such as walking.
For those who have had heart attacks, strong friendships can prove to be very beneficial. While the term “social network” now has online-only connotations for some, having a real-life social network with friends available to visit or call has shown many benefits for those dealing with heart issues. Depression has long been associated with high blood pressure. Now, loneliness itself has been linked to hypertension. Friends serve to encourage each other and can dissuade each other from going back to bad dietary or other non-healthy lifestyle habits. The ability to call a friend reduces stress, if the friend is someone who is trustworthy. It should also be noted that some friendships are not healthy and can increase stress and blood pressure levels.
Certain foods are known to constrict blood flow in the arteries. Foods with high salt concentrations, processed meats and sugary soft drinks are well-known foods to avoid. On the positive side, green tea reduces cholesterol, thanks to its antioxidants. Antioxidants are natural ingredients that help eliminate elements that damage arteries and cause the build-up of plaque, the material that clogs arteries and impedes blood-flow.
Saturated fats in meat clog arteries but fish with high omega-3 fatty acids actually help keep arteries open. Specifically, omega-3 fatty acids lower the probability of abnormal heartbeats (arrhythmias) and impede the development of plaque. Anchovies and salmon are good examples of such fish.
Controlling anger is another way to prevent heart attacks. An international study revealed that anger can cause blood pressure and heart rate to increase in the same way heavy physical activity can cause problems to the cardiovascular system. This alters the flow of blood to the heart. The risk increases alarmingly if a person is angry and engaged in unusual physical activity. Methods of controlling anger include exercise (also good for the cardiovascular system), taking a breath before responding to the anger-causing incident and looking for a solution to the problem that caused it.
To learn more about natural ways to prevent heart disease, log on to vascularhealthclinics.org.