In addition to controlling cholesterol and blood pressure, in the prevention of heart disease, it is important to think about nutrition, sugar and salt intake, exercise, quality and quantity of sleep. A long life without any heart problems depends on more than just blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Often, the patient’s lifestyle leads to serious health problems that can be completely avoided. Preventive measures have been shown to be effective in reducing morbidity and mortality from heart disease, but rates remain high. What affects heart health?
Alcohol consumption and heart function
Many may have heard that small doses of alcohol protect the heart from damage. But the opinion of scientists about alcohol as a means of promoting heart health is ambiguous. If the patient has heart disease, alcohol should not be a “medicine”. Any type of alcohol is not the best way to reduce the risk of cardiovascular pathologies. Some studies have shown that drinking red wine can increase HDL, or “good” cholesterol, but experts say the increase is minimal. Physical activity better and safer stimulates the formation of HDL.
Small doses of alcohol taken infrequently will not harm the heart, but do not believe the idea that alcohol will benefit it. Moreover, the effectiveness of drugs can be reduced or their side effects are enhanced, sometimes quite strongly.
Drinking too much alcohol can lead to high blood pressure and triglyceride levels in the blood. Experts believe that healthy people who drink alcohol should do so in moderation. No more than once or twice a week and in moderation.
Salt intake and provocation of heart disease
Some experts say that the widespread use of sodium in the diet negatively affects the cardiovascular system. Table salt causes fluid retention in vessels and tissues, increasing the volume of circulating blood, which can contribute to high blood pressure, the risk of stroke and provokes heart disease.
A report in the New England Journal of Medicine found that if Americans reduced their daily salt intake by 3 grams, we could significantly reduce the number of new cases of coronary heart disease, stroke, heart attack, and death from complications of these diseases. The authors of the article noted previous studies in which the average American male consumes 10.4 grams of salt daily and the average American woman receives 7.3 grams.
It is worth limiting the intake of salt in the diet to 1.5–3 g per day. You need to be careful: often the salt does not come from the salt shaker. Studies show that people get up to 80% of their daily salt intake from processed foods (sausages, cheeses, fast food, and even cottage cheese).
Excess sugar in the usual diet
A daily diet rich in sugar brings not only the pleasure of taste; sweets can also cause health problems. Like salt, sugar is found in excess in processed foods, which make up a large part of the diet of our fellow citizens. Sweet soda, confectionery, chocolate and many desserts are dangerous. A can of soda contains about 8 teaspoons (or 33 grams) of sugar, which is about 130 calories.
One such jar per day is equal to the recommended amount of sugar, which should be supplied daily with food. The main problem with sugar is the amount of excess calories that negatively affect the figure and can contribute to metabolic changes, increase the chances of developing a variety of heart diseases. It is worth monitoring not only the consumption of pure sugar, but also other foods containing light carbohydrates (sweets, cookies, ketchups, sodas)
Night sleep: quality and quantity
Many people in the conditions of modern life in cities and villages constantly lack sleep. Not only does a poor night’s sleep feel shaky the next day, but it can have long-term consequences for the heart. No less dangerous are various sleep problems, even if its duration is quite satisfactory. It is well known that sleep apnea leads to frequent, prolonged pauses in breathing during the night and is associated with stroke or coronary heart disease.
The reason is not clear, but it has been suggested that people with disturbed breathing during sleep have higher blood pressure overall because they do not get the rest that normally allows blood pressure to drop and relieve the cardiovascular system during the night.
And a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that older people who slept five hours or less a night had an increased risk of coronary heart disease than those who got eight hours of sleep. The probable cause was calcium buildup in the walls of the arteries, found on CT scans, which began long before the onset of symptoms and was associated with sleep deprivation.
Physical activity: the problem of low activity
Many patients are aware of the importance of exercise in prevention, and this statement remains the same: regular, vigorous exercise provides many health benefits, especially for the cardiovascular system. Physical inactivity — a sharp lack of physical activity, increases the risk of problems with the heart and blood vessels, weight gain and metabolic disorders.
To maintain activity and prevent pathologies, physical activity should be at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity every week. It can be brisk walking, which increases the heart rate, cycling, gymnastics, fitness. On average, you need 30 minutes of exercise daily for five days a week.
Experts suggest that anyone who does not have heart disease increase their daily activity to 60 minutes a day, five days a week. But it is possible to break up the sessions into, for example, three 20-minute sessions per day, since the effect of aerobic exercise is cumulative. However, physical activity in people who have already been diagnosed with pathologies of the heart or blood vessels should be discussed with a doctor, and training should be carried out under the supervision of a physiotherapist or an experienced trainer.
Take the test
Hypertension risk test
Do you know what your blood pressure is? But it is one of the main indicators of the state of health. We suggest taking a small test that will allow you to decide on this issue and figure out what should be done to maintain normal blood pressure.
Cardiology. National guide / ed. E. V. Shlyakhto - 2015