Many patients with a high risk of complications of heart and vascular diseases are often recommended to take drugs, including statins. But these drugs have a whole range of side effects and contraindications. Simple tips and tricks, exercise, and dietary adjustments can help many people prevent heart disease. It is also important to get rid of bad habits, deal with stress, normalize sleep.
Drug prevention of heart pathologies
Ten years ago, a study in the New England Journal of Medicine generated a lot of buzz over the idea of combating the systemic inflammatory response that can lead to heart problems with cholesterol-lowering drugs (statins). The study found that statins reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes in people with normal cholesterol but high levels of inflammation, as measured by a marker called C‑reactive protein, or CRP. The study included almost 18,000 men aged 50 and over, as well as women aged 60 and over. The study found that people who took the medication for two to five years reduced their risk of having a heart attack or stroke during that period by 50 percent. But many experts doubt the reliability of the results, considering the figures to be too high. For many people who have a relatively healthy heart but are at high risk of future pathologies, it is much safer to use simple and affordable preventive measures. Often, blood vessels and the heart suffer from physical inactivity, the influence of poor nutrition and stress.
Doctors agree that lifestyle changes, rather than just taking statins, are the best approach for most people. Experts are hesitant about recommending statins for people without a history of cardiovascular disease. There are several effective recommendations that are not related to taking medications, and they help reduce the risk of heart pathologies.
Rejection of bad habits
It is important to give up such a bad habit as smoking. Tobacco smoke has been proven time and time again to be an important source of toxic chemical exposure to humans. Smoking is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease because it increases the risk of arterial atherosclerosis and can increase levels of inflammatory markers that cause strokes and heart attacks. Bad habits affect systemic inflammation by activating it and releasing inflammatory cells and mediators into the systemic circulation. When the patient stops smoking, he eliminates the entry of various toxins from cigarette smoke into the lungs, which inhibits inflammation and other toxic effects on the organs. Nicotine itself is a risk factor for systemic inflammation and heart disease. Bad habits provoke heart disease associated with atherosclerosis of the coronary arteries, as well as complications associated with damage to other vessels.
Diet Changes: Healthy Foods and Meals
For the prevention of cardiac pathologies, many patients are recommended a Mediterranean diet. Research published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2013 suggests that a Mediterranean diet, a diet supplemented with olive oil or nuts, plant foods and protein, reduces the incidence of atherosclerotic lesions in people at high risk of heart problems. The traditional Mediterranean diet includes plenty of olive oil, fruits, nuts, vegetables, whole grains, legumes. It involves eating moderate amounts of fish, seafood, poultry, eggs, and cheese. The Mediterranean diet is recommended to avoid foods that cause systemic inflammation, such as processed and fried foods, refined carbohydrates, including sugar. Eating foods that are part of the Mediterranean diet can help reduce the risk of heart disease.
Regular physical activity
Experts say patients can reduce their risk of heart disease without medication and improve their overall health through regular exercise. Aerobic exercise is recommended for 30 to 45 minutes a day, performed as often as possible. Heavy, exhausting physical activity is not needed, any movement is useful. Standing is definitely better than sitting. Walking is better than standing. Running is better than walking. Any exercise is useful, but you need to start with feasible physical activity. A study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology in March 2018 suggests that moderate exercise is associated with a significant reduction in the risk of death among people with coronary heart disease. Regular exercise is also helpful in preventing chronic conditions such as diabetes, depression, and obesity.
Reduce belly fat
Many gain weight as they get older, and being overweight is a risk factor for systemic inflammation that can lead to heart disease. As they age, men tend to put on pounds around their belly area, while women often put on extra weight around their hips. Men with a waist circumference of 101 cm or more and women with a waist circumference of 89 cm or more are at increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Weight loss through sensible exercise and a healthy diet, such as the Mediterranean option, can reduce the risk of heart disease, experts say.
Sleep mode normalization
Many people overlook the important role of sleep in preventing heart damage. Studies show that people whose sleep is quantitatively or qualitatively unsatisfactory have an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and coronary heart disease. On average, a person needs at least 7–8 hours of sleep per day, and for certain categories of people even longer. Patients with poor sleep quality (frequent awakenings, shallow sleep, difficulty falling asleep) are particularly at risk for cardiovascular events and coronary disease. To prevent heart disease, a person needs at least seven to eight hours of quality sleep per day in a calm environment.
When the body is under constant physical or emotional stress, the adrenal glands produce the hormone cortisol, which is a risk factor for heart disease. The expert recommends a variety of approaches to stress management, including exercise, relaxation breathing techniques, yoga and meditation. In addition, a change of scenery, outdoor recreation, and hobbies help fight stress.
Cardiology. National guide / ed. E. V. Shlyakhto - 2015