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Lifestyle Changes You Can Make To Prevent Heart Diseases

Dr. Wajid Shabbir

3 min read

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The heart is a vital organ of the human body and life cannot sustain without it. The heart requires a healthy lifestyle in order to perform its functions appropriately. Poor eating habits, smoking, lack of exercise, insomnia, depression and diabetes are some of the key factors due to which heart function deteriorates exposing you to serious health issues.

Now, therefore, the question is what lifestyle changes a person can make to prevent heart-diseases or heart-attack. Let’s figure out some effective strategies to keep your heart healthy.

Eat Healthily:

Eating a healthy diet can reduce your risk of heart disease. Two examples of heart-healthy food plans include the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) eating plan and the Mediterranean diet. A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains is beneficial for the heart. Aim to eat beans, low-fat or fat-free dairy products, lean meats, and fish as part of a healthy diet. Avoid too much salt and sugars in your diet.

Some fats such as polyunsaturated and monounsaturated are essential for human body but some are not good for health such as saturated and trans fats; try to avoid them. Aim to keep saturated fats to 5 or 6 percent of your daily calories and try to keep Trans fats out of your diet altogether.

Major sources of saturated fats include:

  • Red meat
  • Full-fat dairy products
  • Coconut and palm oils

Sources of  Trans fat include:

  • Deep-fried fast foods
  • Bakery products
  • Packaged snack foods
  • Margarines
  • Crackers, chips, and cookies

If the nutrition label has the term “partially hydrogenated” or “hydrogenated,” it means that product contains trans-fats, and therefore, you should try to avoid such products.

Healthy fats from plant-based sources such as avocado, nuts, olives, and olive oil help your heart by lowering the bad type of cholesterol. Most people need to add more fruits and vegetables to their diets with a goal of five to 10 servings a day.

Eating more fruits and vegetables can not only help prevent heart diseases but may also help improve blood pressure and cholesterol levels and help keep diabetes at bay. Eating two or more servings a week of certain fish, such as salmon and tuna is also recommended as it may decrease your risk of developing a heart disease.

Exercise for 30 minutes per day:

Daily exercise, involvement in physical activities and maintaining a healthy weight will keep your heart healthy and significantly reduce the risk of developing a heart disease. In general, a person should do moderate exercise, such as walking at a brisk pace, for about 30 minutes on most days of the week, which is in line with the  US Department of Health and Human Services recommendation of 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity, 75 minutes a week of vigorous aerobic activity, or a combination of moderate and vigorous activity.

For even more health benefits, aim for 300 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 150 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity every week. In addition, aim to do strength training exercises two or more days a week.

However, even shorter amounts of the exercise of 20 minutes can offer heart benefits. A person can even get the same health benefits if he breaks up his workout time into three 10-minute sessions over the course of the day. Activities such as gardening, housekeeping, taking the stairs and walking the dog all count toward the goal of exercising 30 minutes a day.

Avoid Smoking:

The usage of tobacco or smoking is injurious for health because any kind of tobacco usage significant increases the risk of heart disease. Chemicals in tobacco can damage your heart and blood vessels, leading to narrowing of the arteries due to plaque buildup (atherosclerosis) that can ultimately lead to a heart attack.

Cigarette smoke contains carbon monoxide that replaces some of the oxygen in the human blood. This causes an increase in blood pressure and heart rate, which makes the heart work harder to supply enough oxygen to the body.

With respect to heart disease prevention, smoking is highly unsafe and must be avoided. Smokeless tobacco, low-tar, and low-nicotine cigarettes, and secondhand smoke also can be risky.

The risk of coronary heart disease significantly reduces one year after quitting smoking. The risk of coronary heart disease drops almost to that of a nonsmoker in about 15 years. And no matter how long or how much a person smoked, he’ll start reaping rewards as soon as he quits. So, care for your heart and put that cigarette down!

Manage your Stress Levels:

Stress and depression may lead to heart diseases, so the best way is to include exercises that help you de-stress in your daily exercise routine. Exercises such as aerobics and yoga are known to help reduce stress. A combination of good food, sleep and exercise can help one manage stress effectively. However, sometimes it is also helpful to speak to a mental health expert such as a Psychiatrist or Psychologist to find ways to handle stress.

Sleep properly:

Sleep deprivation can cause a lot of harm to human health. People who don’t get enough sleep have a higher risk of obesity, high blood pressure, heart attack, diabetes, and depression. Most adults need seven to nine hours of sleep each night. A simple way to check if you are getting enough sleep is to notice if you are able to wake up refreshed without needing an alarm clock.

Setting a sleep schedule and sticking to it must be a priority. Also, keep your bedroom dark and quiet, so it’s easier to sleep. Feel free to use eye shades if you are not able to make your room completely dark.

If you feel like you’ve been getting enough sleep, but you’re still tired throughout the day, ask your doctor if you need to be evaluated for a thyroid disorder. Adopt a healthy lifestyle starting today and take care of your heart and your health overall – we have a lot of helping content at health-zone.

Here at oladoc, you can find best Cardiologist in Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad and book a confirmed appointment. In addition,  you can also call our helpline at 042-3890-0939 and seek an appointment with a heart specialist near you.

Disclaimer: The contents of this article are intended to raise awareness about common health issues and should not be viewed as sound medical advice for your specific condition. You should always consult with a licensed medical practitioner prior to following any suggestions outlined in this article or adopting any treatment protocol based on the contents of this article.

Dr. Wajid Shabbir - Author Dr. Wajid Shabbir is a Cardiologist practicing in Islamabad. Dr. Wajid Shabbir has the following degrees: M.B.B.S., F.C.P.S. (Cardiology) and has 5 years of experience
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