Heart health: An Alert! Things you must know.
Remember, heart attack and stroke deaths are Preventable.
This article is to help save lives through awareness.
Make your Heart Health a priority.
Heart disease affects people of all ages, but is most common in middle age.
Only when the artery is blocked by 70% or more, the buildup of arterial plaque may cause symptoms like chest pain, shortness of breath, heart palpitation, weakness or dizziness, nausea and sweating.
The symptom of chest pain is called Angina. It results from reduced blood flow to the heart.
Cholesterol and triglycerides are the main forms of fat carried in the blood that play the role of development of blockages in the arteries (ATHEROSCLEROSIS) posing the risk of heart attack and stroke.
Cholesterol is a waxy substance not inherently bad. In fact your body needs cholesterol to build cells. But if it crosses the permissible range it can be dangerous for health.
Cholesterol come partly from food and partly from body’s own production in the liver.
Since high cholesterol may not show any symptoms, a blood test is essential to evaluate the risk.
A complete cholesterol test called Lipid Profile, is a combination of tests conducted to check for any risk of heart disease.
It includes HDL cholesterol (high density lipoprotein).
HDL cholesterol is considered good cholesterol as it withdraws LDL cholesterol (which is harmful cholesterol) away from the blood to the liver and helps in lowering the cholesterol accumulation in arteries, thus reversing the blockage process.
HDL is naturally produced in the body when you exercise, go for daily walk, live happy life without stress, consume green leafy vegetables and fresh fruits and from unsaturated fats.(explained below)
LDL cholesterol also called the bad cholesterol collects in the walls of your blood vessels and causes blockage.
Triglycerides is a type of fat found in your blood. Excess calories that the body does not need right away, is converted to Triglycerides. They are an important measure of heart health.
It is very important to monitor your Triglycerides, as high Triglycerides also contribute to the blockages. High triglycerides can also be a sign of type 2 diabetes
The other major causes that speed up the blockage in arteries and trigger heart attack and stroke are:-
1 High blood pressure: High BP increases the rate at which arterial plaque builds up.
2 Cigarette smoke/tobacco also increases the buildup in the arteries of the heart, legs and the Aorta. (the largest artery in the body that carries your blood away from your heart to the rest of your body)
3 Diabetes or elevated circulating blood sugar is also one of the contributing factors.
4 Alcohol: Regular high consumption of alcohol can hurt your heart and lead to the disease of the heart muscle.
5 Obesity increases your risk of heart disease.
6 Stress: Stress is a silent killer. It increases blood pressure, blood sugar, blood cholesterol, triglycerides, and reduces HDL (good cholesterol) thus promoting the plaque buildup.
Measures to maintain normal ranges of cholesterol:-
Consuming healthy fats:
Fat is essential to your health as it supports a number of body functions.
It is very essential that you incorporate good fats in your diet and limit or eliminate unhealthy fats.
Know your fats and see how they affect your body.
Types of fats:-
This type of fats comes mainly from animal food such as red meat, beef, lamb, full fat dairy products, and poultry including egg yolk ( the inner yellow part of the egg).
You don’t need to eliminate saturated fats from your diet but since saturated fats play a role in cardiovascular disease and are also high in calories you need to consume these in moderation.
Limit saturated fat to 10%
A diet high in saturated fat is associated with a high LDL cholesterol and triglycerides level.
Unsaturated fats which are liquid, are considered beneficial fats. They help improve blood cholesterol levels, ease inflammation , stabilize heart rhythm and play number of other beneficial roles. These are plant and nut based, healthy fats. They help you manage your moods and help you control your weight.
There are two main types of unsaturated fats
These are plant based healthy fats.
Olive oil (cold pressed extra virgin olive oil)
Most nuts and most seeds
These fats help in muscle movement and blood clotting.
Polyunsaturated fat is not made in the body it comes through your diet.
These fats can be categorized in to two types.
Omega 3 and
Omega 6 fatty acids (They help in lowering LDL cholesterol and increasing HDL cholesterol.
Sources of Omega 3
Tuna, salmon, sardines, mackerel and fatty fish.
Vegetarian sources of omega 3 include flaxseeds chia seeds, walnuts, kale and spinach.
Sources of omega 6
However, consuming too many foods rich in omega 3 and omega 6 should be strictly avoided.
Do not go to extremes as all types of fats contain high calories.
Trans fats are made from oils through food processing method called hydrogenation. These hydrogenated trans fats increase the total blood cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglycerides level and lowers the good cholesterol (HDL).
TRANS FATS INCREASES YOUR RISK OF CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE.
Trans fat have no nutritional value and are harmful for your health.
Read food labels each time you shop so that you can avoid foods with trans fat as some percentage of trans fat may be there in many foods.
Trans fats are present in commercially baked pastries, cookies, doughnuts, muffins, cakes, pizzas, all hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated vegetable oils.
Healthy heart guidelines:
*Eat variety of fruits and vegetable servings everyday (choose fresh fruits rather than canned fruits or juices)
*Choose whole grain cereals and pulses (oats, whole wheat bread and brown rice).
*Oily fish which contains omega 3 fatty acids are best for the heart. Eat fish at least twice a week (tuna, salmon, mackerel, sardines).
*Eat foods low in saturated fats and eliminate trans fats from you diet
*Get enough potassium. Few of the potassium rich foods are sweet potato, banana, avocado and cooked spinach.
*Stop smoking or get help to stop smoking if you find it difficult to quit.
*Monitor your Blood Pressure.
*Keep a check on your cholesterol levels.
*Catch the signs and symptoms of heart attack and stroke early and call 112 or 102 for an ambulance if you experience any symptoms.
*Watch your health and the health of your loved ones.
*Keep a food diary for few weeks till it becomes your lifestyle.
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