Six in 10 American adults suffer from a chronic disease. That includes heart disease and stroke, diabetes, and cancer. Chronic diseases need ongoing medical attention and usually last for more than one year. Lifestyle factors affect whether a person is at a higher risk for heart disease and other conditions.
Creating healthy lifestyle changes is key in the primary prevention of diseases. When you take the steps to take care of your body, you take care of your present and future.
Heart and Blood Vessels
Our cardiovascular system plays a huge part in disease control. Our blood vessels are vital in delivering blood and oxygen to different parts of the body. When our cardiovascular system fails to bring oxygen-rich blood, it puts us at a higher risk of heart disease.
The common types of heart disease are high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, stroke, and rheumatic heart disease. An emergency medical event caused by a blockage in the blood vessels is called a heart attack.
- High blood pressure or hypertension happens when the pressure on your blood vessels is consistently high. It can lead to serious health problems such as stroke and heart attacks.
- A coronary artery disease occurs when there is plaque buildup in your arteries that restrict blood and oxygen flow. This plaque is made up of cholesterol and other fatty substances that clog your arteries.
- A stroke occurs when a blood vessel in the brain bursts or becomes blood, blocking the brain's source of oxygen.
- Rheumatic heart disease occurs when there is damage to the heart's valve due to rheumatic fever as a response to bacterial infection.
Having a healthy heart and blood vessels can decrease your risk of developing health conditions. It can prevent things that can limit your day-to-day activities.
Major Risk Factors
We listed down below several risk factors that can increase your chances of developing a chronic disease.
- A leading cause of heart disease and high blood pressure is a sedentary lifestyle. Lack of a healthy diet and physical activity can lead to health problems. Excess weight gain can adversely affect your cholesterol levels and put you at risk for heart attack or stroke.
- Another increased risk is family history. You are more likely to develop heart disease if one or more of your family members have had the same condition.
- Cigarette smoking and drinking too much alcohol can cause high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke.
- Poor nutrition is also a major risk factor for chronic disease. Foods that are high in saturated fats and sugar increase the risk of heart disease. Consuming too much sodium from packaged, store-bought food can lead to high blood pressure.
- Pre-existing medical conditions such as diabetes can also increase your risk of having a chronic disease.
Healthy Lifestyle Changes for Disease Control
Healthy living doesn't have to be difficult. If you identify with the risk factors listed above, there are many things you can do to prevent heart disease and other chronic conditions. Focus on making and maintaining good lifestyle changes. You can start incorporating small changes until they become good habits. Here are a few below:
- Maintain a healthy weight and start doing physical activity. Do at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise such as brisk walking five days a week. Losing weight can manage your cholesterol and lower your risk for heart disease and other conditions. Your body mass index isn't an accurate representation of your health status. But it can be a good guide for your physicality.
- Stop smoking or drinking excessively. Avoid going to places that put you at risk for secondhand smoking.
- Take care of your mental health and manage stress effectively.
- Make good decisions in your diet. Eat healthy foods high in fiber and other whole grains. You may also substitute vegetable oil with olive oil when cooking.
To Wrap Up
It is never too late to start leading a healthier life. Primary prevention starts with making active choices toward a healthy diet and lifestyle.
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