Modern Heart and Vascular

How to Prevent Cardiovascular Disease

Prevent Cardiovascular Disease

Prevent Cardiovascular Disease

When heart specialists discuss cardiovascular disease prevention, they generally refer to one of three types: secondary, primary, and primordial prevention. All three types have similar elements but different onset times and different effects.

 

SECONDARY PREVENTION

The individuals initiate these efforts after they suffer a heart attack or stroke, undergo angioplasty or bypass surgery, or develop some other form of cardiovascular disease. It involves taking medicines such as aspirin or a statin to lower cholesterol, quitting smoking, losing weight if necessary, getting more exercise, and adhering to a healthy diet.

Even though secondary prevention may sound like “closing the barn door after the horse is gone,” it is not. These steps may prevent a second heart attack or stroke, stop the progression of cardiovascular disease, and prevent premature death.

Although it may be obvious; however, the top killer of people who survive a primary heart attack is a second heart attack.

 

PRIMARY PREVENTION

Primary prevention aims to prevent a person at risk of cardiovascular disease from having a first stroke or heart attack, needing surgery or angioplasty, or developing some other form of cardiovascular disease.

Thus, primary prevention targets individuals who have already developed cardiovascular risk factors, such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure. As with secondary prevention, primary prevention focuses on controlling these risk factors by making healthy lifestyle changes and, if necessary, taking medications.

That said, problematic cardiovascular risk factors mean inflammation, atherosclerosis, or endothelial dysfunction is already at work and, in most cases, is not reversible.

 

PRIMORDIAL PREVENTION

The term primordial means existing from the beginning. Primordial prevention involves working to prevent inflammation, atherosclerosis, or endothelial dysfunction, or more than one of the previous, from taking hold, thereby preventing risk factors such as high cholesterol, excess weight, high blood pressure, and, ultimately, cardiovascular events.

Once rarely discussed, primordial prevention is now the cornerstone of the American Heart Association’s definition of ideal heart health and efforts to help individuals achieve it.

As the name implies, the earlier you can start practicing primordial prevention, ideally as early as childhood, the more likely you will be able to achieve it and protect yourself from cardiovascular disease.

 

MAIN STEPS FOR THE PRIMORDIAL OR EARLIEST PREVENTION OF CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE

Five vital basic lifestyle steps may dramatically reduce your chances of developing cardiovascular risk factors and, ultimately, cardiovascular disease:

  1. DO NOT SMOKE

One of the best health actions you can do for your health is not to use tobacco. Tobacco use is a challenging habit to break that may make you sick, slow you down, and shorten your life. One reason smoking provokes this situation is by participating directly in cardiovascular disease.

Researchers examined the link between cigarette smoking and smoking cessation on mortality during a decades-long perspective study of more than one hundred thousand women. This study found that approximately sixty-four percent of deaths among current smokers and twenty-eight percent among former smokers attribute to smoking.

This research also reported that you might dramatically reduce much of the risk due to smoking after smoking cessation. In addition, the additional risk of all-cause mortality, for example, death from any cause, decreases to the level of a never-smoker twenty years after quitting.

The nicotine released by tobacco products is one of the most addictive substances. That makes tobacco use one of the most challenging unhealthy habits to break. But do not be discouraged; many smokers quit!

In fact, in the United States, these days are more ex-smokers than smokers. Therefore, it would be best to get informed and learn more about the dangers of smoking, the benefits of quitting, and smoking cessation tips.

  1. MAINTAIN A HEALTHY WEIGHT

Excess weight and an extra-large waist size contribute to cardiovascular disease, as well as a host of other health issues.

In a study of more than one million women, BMI (Body Mass Index) was a decisive risk factor for coronary heart disease. Furthermore, the incidence of coronary heart disease increases progressively with BMI.

According to some studies, middle-aged women and men who gained eleven to twenty-two pounds after twenty years of age were up to three times more at risk for developing cardiovascular disease than those who gained five pounds or less.

Those who gained more than twenty-two pounds had an even greater risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

Weight and height go hand in hand. For example, if you are taller, you weigh more. Researchers have come up with several measures that consider weight and stature. The measurement they use the most is BMI.

You can calculate your BMI by dividing your weight in kilograms by your height in meters squared (kg/m2). You may also utilize a BMI (Body Mass Index) chart or an online BMI calculator.

  • A healthy BMI is less than twenty-five kg/m2
  • Considered overweight, a BMI of 25 to 29.9 kg/m2
  • Considered obese, a BMI of thirty kg/m2

Waist measurement also matters. In individuals who are not overweight, a waist measurement may be an even more telling warning sign of more significant health risks than Body Mass Index (BMI).

A panel of experts from the National Institutes of Health identified some valuable benchmarks, which included:

  • Men should aim for a waist measurement below forty inches (102 cm).
  • Women should aim for a waist measurement below thirty-five inches (88 cm).

 

  1. PHYSICAL ACTIVITY

Physical activity and exercise are excellent ways to prevent cardiovascular disease and many other diseases and conditions, but many of us become less active as we age.

Regular physical activity is one of the best things you can do for your health. It decreases the risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, osteoporosis, diabetes, high blood pressure, and certain types of cancer. It can also help manage stress, improve sleep, control weight, improve mood, reduce the risk of falls and improve cognitive function in seniors.

You do not need to have marathon training to see real health benefits. A brisk thirty-minute walk at least five days a week will benefit most people significantly. Whatever amount of physical activity is better than none.

Physical activity and exercise benefit the body, while a sedentary lifestyle does the opposite: it increases the chances of becoming overweight and developing several chronic diseases.

Research shows that individuals who spend more time every day watching TV, sitting down, or riding in cars have a higher chance of dying prematurely than more active individuals.

A 2013 study showed that, among women from fifty to seventy-nine years old without cardiovascular disease at the start of the study, prolonged sitting time was linked to an increased risk of heart disease, regardless of the amount of time spent in leisure-time physical activity.

 

  1. FOLLOW A HEALTHY DIET

For years, research on the connections between diet and cardiovascular disease focused on individual nutrients such as cholesterol, types of fats, and specific vitamins and minerals.

It is a revealing work, but it also generates some dead ends, myths, and confusion about what constitutes a heart-healthy diet. That is because people eat food, not nutrients.

The best diet for preventing cardiovascular disease is one full of vegetables and fruits, whole grains, fish, nuts, poultry, and vegetable oils. Preferably it does not include red and processed meats, refined carbohydrates, beverages, food with added sugar and sodium, and food with trans fats.

Individuals with diets consistent with this dietary pattern had a thirty-one percent lower risk of cardiovascular disease, a thirty-three percent lower risk of diabetes, and a twenty percent lower risk of stroke.

Potassium and sodium are essential interrelated minerals regulating blood pressure and heart health. Therefore, eating less salt and more potassium-rich food may significantly reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Many foods have potassium, especially vegetables, fruits, legumes, and low-fat dairy products. But the opposite of eating a lot of sodium-rich foods, mainly processed bread, canned goods, and fast food, while skimping on potassium may increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.

 

  1. IMPROVE SLEEP HEALTH

Many studies show that sleep is an essential component of cardiovascular health.

Sleeping too short or too long is linked with cardiovascular disease and may negatively affect other heart-related risk factors, such as dietary intake, weight, exercise, inflammation, and blood pressure.

Several reasons cause sleeplessness, including clinical sleep disorders, night shift work, or poor sleep hygiene. You should talk to your physician if you have frequent restless nights or do not feel adequately rested during the day.

Improving sleep habits may make a difference, for example:

  • Setting a sleep schedule and sticking to it
  • Having a relaxing bedtime ritual, such as stretching or meditating
  • Exercising regularly
  • Restricting the use of electronic devices an hour before bedtime
  • Avoiding heavy meals before bedtime
  • Avoiding excess caffeine and limiting alcohol consumption

 

  1. ELIMINATE AS MUCH STRESS AS POSSIBLE

Try to learn stress management techniques to help you deal with stress in your home and work life. Stress increases hormone levels and inflammation, which may lead to cardiovascular disease.

In addition to these practices, the American Heart Association recommends controlling blood sugar, cholesterol, and blood pressure as additional factors to improve and maintain cardiovascular health.

Following a healthy lifestyle may prevent more than eighty percent of coronary artery disease, eighty percent of sudden cardiac deaths, fifty percent of ischemic strokes, and seventy-two percent of premature deaths linked to cardiovascular disease. Consequently, a healthy lifestyle is a worthwhile investment for a longer and healthier life.

At Modern Heart and Vascular, we are committed to placing our patients first and providing all the answers to your questions about heart health and heart conditions.

We are Modern Heart and Vascular Institute, a diagnostic and preventative medicine cardiology practice. For more information, contact us.

Every heart has a story… What’s yours?

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CARDIOVASCULAR CENTERS IN HOUSTON, TEXAS

Modern Heart and Vascular, a preventive cardiology medical practice, has several offices around Houston. We have locations in Humble, Cleveland, The Woodlands, Katy, and Livingston.

We are Modern Heart and Vascular Institute, a diagnostic and preventative medicine cardiology practice.

Every heart has a story… What’s yours?

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At the Modern Heart and Vascular Institute, we offer state-of-the-art cardiovascular care with innovative diagnostic tools and compassionate patient care. Our priority at Modern Heart and Vascular Institute is prevention. We help patients lead healthier lives by avoiding unnecessary procedures and surgeries.

Contact us online to learn more and book an appointment. If you’d like to learn more about our practice, read our providers’ bios.

This article does not provide medical advice. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you need cardiovascular care, please call us at 832-644-8930.

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