How To Prevent Heart Disease From a Young Age
According to MyHealthFinder, heart disease is the leading cause of death in American women and men alike and has been so for the past several years. While most individuals believe that heart problems mainly arise in adults, the rise in childhood obesity and diabetes have contributed to deteriorating heart health in children. These factors have resulted in increased occurrences of conditions like arterial blockage and heart attack in individuals of all ages. Thus, patients must understand how to cultivate their heart health from an early age to prevent heart disease in their adulthood.
As indicated by the American Heart Association, there are several risk factors for impending heart disease. One critical risk factor is heredity. Those with a family history of heart disease, obesity, and diabetes are more likely to develop such conditions themselves. Furthermore, high cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, high blood sugar levels, and obesity also increase heart disease risk. Lifestyle characteristics such as alcohol consumption, smoking, low physical activity, an unhealthy diet, and high-stress environments are proven contributors to heart problems as well. Luckily, patients with a high risk of heart disease can prevent such debilitating conditions by maintaining a heart-healthy lifestyle from a young age.
Medical professionals from the American Heart Association recommend several lifestyle changes that can promote a healthy heart, which include:
- Avoiding tobacco consumption and smoke inhalation. Nonsmokers that may receive exposure to other people’s smoke are also more susceptible to heart disease.
- Limiting alcohol consumption to moderate amounts to prevent high blood pressure. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, a standard drink contains around fourteen grams of pure alcohol, and professionals recommend no more than two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women.
- Managing stress by exercising, maintaining a positive attitude, and engaging in stress-releasing activities.
- Consuming a heart-healthy diet enriched with vitamins and minerals. A heart-healthy diet includes low-calorie foods, including vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, legumes, lean meats, and low-fat dairy products.
- Combating obesity and losing weight by controlling portion sizes, sitting less, and exercising. Doctors recommend moderate to vigorous physical activity for at least thirty minutes per day.
- With the help of your doctor, monitoring and lowering cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar levels.
- Professionals recommend managing cholesterol levels by eating foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids and “good” cholesterol, like salmon, olive oil, and walnuts, reducing high saturated fat and “bad” cholesterol consumption, and eliminating trans fat consumption.
- Approved methods of managing blood pressure are eating a well-balanced, low-sodium diet and maintaining a healthy weight.
- Preventing high blood sugar levels and diabetes involves taking the proper medicines to keep blood sugar levels in check, eating a well-balanced, low-sugar diet, and exercising regularly, as well as working closely with a doctor to manage this condition.
By adhering to these healthy habits from an early age, individuals can significantly decrease their risk of conditions such as congestive heart failure, coronary heart disease, stroke, and others, all of which may be debilitating, even fatal. And as indicated by the American Heart Association, “a heart attack can occur at any age.” It is never too early to pursue a heart-healthy lifestyle, so we recommend working closely with your doctor to identify any risk factors for heart disease and begin making smart choices to combat them immediately.
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.
Nabeeha Hasan is a freshman at the Honors College at the University of Houston. She is pursuing a dual degree in biomedical sciences and economics and plans to join an MD-MBA program post-undergrad. She has completed a literature review investigating the gut-brain axis and has done extensive research on treatments for Multiple Sclerosis. She hopes to use her knowledge to foster the advancement of the field of medicine. In her free time, Nabeeha enjoys traveling, reading, and spending time with family and friends.