Coronary heart disease and strokes are two forms of an umbrella condition called cardiovascular disease (CVD). CVD is a broad term that covers conditions attributed to fatty build-ups in the arteries. These fatty deposits gradually narrow the arteries and are the main causes of blood clots, heart attacks and strokes.
These conditions are one of the largest causes of death and disability throughout the UK but with a healthy diet and lifestyle they can be very easily prevented, even if you’ve already been diagnosed with general CVD.
Take responsibility for your health
Your number one priority should always be to keep on top of your health and any existing conditions you may have. If you have diabetes, for example, your risk of CVD, heart disease and strokes is increased. Make sure you are informed and understand the risks associated with age and existing conditions, this might mean a few more trips to the doctor’s office but it always pays to be informed. Be sure that any medications you’re on are not going to put you in further danger of developing cardiovascular related conditions and stay on top of any changes in your health, or new side effects.
Stop smoking and try to avoid second-hand smoke
We are all well aware of the overwhelming evidence that smoking is a key cause of CVD, as well as various cancers. According to the British Heart Foundation, second-hand tobacco smoke causes heart disease in non-smokers. You could unwittingly be exposing loved ones to this risk. Secondly, nicotine produces adrenaline which causes the heart to beat faster and work harder, causing an upsurge in blood pressure. There’s plenty of help and advice on how to do this on the NHS Smokefree website.
Keep an eye on your diet and limit your cholesterol
Healthy lifestyle choices go hand in hand with a healthy diet. Excessive calorie intake and abdominal obesity are major risk factors that add to a person’s likelihood of getting heart disease or having a stroke. This is because abdominal fat begins to accumulate in places that aren’t designed to store fat; around the pancreas, heart and other organs. This limits the oxygen flow to these organs causing parts of them to ‘die’, leading to issues like heart attacks. These fat deposits are called low-density lipids (LDL’s) which can clog arteries and make them less flexible.
There are two main types of lipoprotein which need monitoring in your diet: low-density lipids (LDLs), the bad cholesterol that your body needs less of, and high-density lipoproteins (HDLs) which work by absorbing cholesterol and carrying it back to the liver, flushing it from the body. High levels of HDL can mean a reduced risk of an individual suffering from heart disease or a stroke.
Following a diet that incorporates the tips below can greatly reduce your risk of CVD conditions.