Symptoms of heart disease and how to keep your heart healthy
Heart disease is a common health problem. There are several different types. Some stem from genetic problems and are not preventable. In many cases, however, a person can take steps to prevent heart disease and its complications. Here, we explore the symptoms of heart disease and how to keep your heart healthy
What is heart disease?
When people talk about heart disease, they’re usually talking about coronary heart disease (CHD). It’s also sometimes called coronary artery disease (CAD). This is the most common type of heart disease.
When someone has CHD, the coronary arteries (tubes) that take blood to the heart are narrow or blocked. This happens when cholesterol and fatty material, called plaque, build up inside the arteries. When plaque blocks an artery, it’s hard for blood to flow to the heart. A blocked artery can cause chest pain or a heart attack.
Sometimes heart disease may be “silent” and not diagnosed until a person experiences signs or symptoms of a heart attack, heart failure, or an arrhythmia.
Am I at risk for heart disease?
Anyone can get heart disease, but you’re at higher risk if you:
- Have high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or diabetes
- Are overweight or have obesity
- Don’t get enough physical activity
- Don’t eat a healthy diet
Your age and family history also affect your risk for heart disease. Your risk is higher if:
- You’re a woman over age 55
- You’re a man over age 45
- Your father or brother had heart disease before age 55
- Your mother or sister had heart disease before age 65
But the good news is there’s a lot you can do to prevent heart disease. Some lifestyle measures can help reduce the risk. These include:
- Eating a balanced diet: Opt for a heart-healthy diet that is rich in fiber and favors whole grains and fresh fruits and vegetables. Also, it may help to limit the intake of processed foods and added fat, salt and sugar.
- Exercising regularly: This can help strengthen the heart and circulatory system, reduce cholesterol and maintain blood pressure. A person may wish to aim for 150 minutes of exercise per week.
- Maintaining a moderate body weight: A healthy body mass index (BMI) is typically between 20 and 25.
- Quitting or avoiding smoking: Smoking is a major risk factor for heart and cardiovascular conditions.
- Limiting alcohol intake: Women should consume no more than one standard drink per day, and men should consume no more than two standard drinks per day.
- Managing underlying conditions: Seek treatment for conditions that affect heart health, such as high blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes.
Taking these steps can help boost overall health and reduce the risk of heart disease and its complications.
Know Your Numbers
Control your cholesterol and blood pressure
High cholesterol and high blood pressure can cause heart disease and heart attack. If your cholesterol or blood pressure numbers are high, you can take steps to lower them. Get your cholesterol and blood pressured checked regularly.
Know your family’s health history
Your family history affects your risk for heart disease.
Managing stress can also help prevent serious health problems like heart disease, depression and high blood pressure. Deep breathing and meditation are good ways to relax and manage stress.
Treatment options will vary depending on the type of heart disease a person has, but some common strategies include making lifestyle changes, taking medications, and undergoing surgery.
Talk to your trusted pharmacist at The Local Choice Pharmacy if you feel unusually tired for several days, if you develop any new health problems, or if existing health issues are bothering you more than usual. It’s also important to talk to your doctor if existing health issues (like pain) are bothering you more than usual.We are here for you!
Disclaimer: All content on the The Local Choice Pharmacy is created and published online for informational purposes only. It does not serve as a substitute for professional medical advice and should not be relied on as health advice.