"10 consejos para mantener un corazón saludable"

"10 tips to maintain a healthy heart"

A healthy heart is the result of several factors among which certain routines play a fundamental role. Therefore, to a large extent it is in our power to enjoy good cardiovascular health. It is about establishing in our day to day a series of habits with which we will not only help the proper functioning of the heart, but also, these habits will have an impact on other areas of our health, improving our quality of life.

1. Mediterranean diet. Following a healthy diet, which includes the right nutrients (carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals in the corresponding proportion, which basically corresponds to the Mediterranean diet), is essential to control risk factors . To achieve this, it is only necessary to take into account the pyramid of the Mediterranean diet, which you can see at this link. It can help you prepare your weekly menus

2. Constant exercise. The risks of a sedentary lifestyle are many. Some of its possible consequences are the appearance of pathologies such as hypertension or diabetes, in addition to increased cholesterol levels or being overweight. To avoid this, the recommendation is to practice at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity per week or 75 minutes of intense activity. It is only about choosing the sport that we enjoy the most. And as we explained in this article , there is a perfect sport for every age.

3. Limit trans fats. Industrial products such as cookies, industrial pastries, pre-cooked foods, snacks and fried foods, ice creams, creams and milkshakes usually have trans fats , and although for a few weeks throughout the EU products cannot have more than 2 grams of trans fat per 100 grams of fat, it is advisable to limit their consumption. The reason is that one of the effects of trans fatty acids is to increase total cholesterol levels, especially LDL cholesterol (“bad cholesterol”), while lowering HDL cholesterol (“good” cholesterol).

4. Check the tension. Hypertension is one of the most common cardiovascular risk factors. Having high blood pressure means greater resistance for the heart, so it increases muscle mass (left ventricular hypertrophy) to cope with this overexertion. And since the increase in muscle mass is not accompanied by a similar increase in blood flow, the consequence is that it can cause coronary insufficiency and angina pectoris. Another possible effect of high blood pressure is that the heart muscle becomes more irritable, making arrhythmias more likely to occur.

Hence the need to control tension . During our outpatient visit, we can request that they take it, but we can also do it on an outpatient basis in our own home as long as we know how to measure the tension correctly. To do this, you must follow the instructions that we explain in this article .

5. Cholesterol levels, under surveillance. The main reason for having cholesterol levels under control is to prevent the formation of atherosclerotic plaques that lead to narrowing of the arteries and can clog them, producing anything from angina -chest pain especially when we make efforts, although it can also appear in rest - up to an acute myocardial infarction or cerebrovascular accidents. The figures of hypercholesterolemia they are higher the greater the population, but each time we begin to have high cholesterol levels earlier. Controlling them is key.

6. Do not take away hours of sleep. A study published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology concludes that those people who, in addition to leading healthy lifestyle habits, sleep a minimum of seven hours a day, reduce the risk of suffering cardiovascular diseases by up to 65%. The same study estimated that in these people the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease is reduced by 83% compared to those people who do not follow any healthy lifestyle habits.

7. Try to keep stress away. He stress It appears as a risk factor in the European Guide for Cardiovascular Prevention because suffering from it means subjecting the body to stresses that can take its toll on our heart health. In addition, stress and anxiety can lead those who suffer from it to significantly change their lifestyle habits for less healthy ones. For example, overeating or eating high-calorie foods, sleeping less, consuming more alcohol or coffee, and exercising less. That is why it is very important to keep it at bay.

8. No smoking. Smoking increases the risk of suffering an acute myocardial infarction, which can be up to three times higher than in non-smokers. Conversely, when a person who has not yet had a cardiovascular event quit smoking , the risk of suffering from it is reduced by half 5 years after quitting tobacco. It is just one of the reasons to quit smoking, although not the only one. Tobacco also worsens our general state of health and increases the chances of suffering from other diseases.

9. Beware of alcohol. Excessive and sudden intake of alcoholic beverages can cause an acceleration of the heart rate, which is known as the holiday heart syndrome But in addition, regular and high alcohol consumption is associated with the development of ventricular dysfunction (dilated cardiomyopathy, with decreased contractile power of the heart) and the genesis of all kinds of arrhythmias.

10. Talk to your doctor. To prevent cardiovascular disease, it is essential to know the risk factors and resolve all kinds of doubts about them. That is why it is important to ask your doctor any questions about it. 

Heart Foundation,2021

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