On this World Heart Day, RAKxa Wellness would like to raise awareness of the lifestyle modifications that individuals can make to prevent and control CVD, the world’s leading cause of death, including heart disease and stroke, which claims 18.6 million lives each year, accounting for half of all NCD deaths worldwide.

So, here are 6 things to do everyday to keep your heart healthy

1- Maintain a healthy diet. Consume healthy fats rather than trans fats.

Saturated, polyunsaturated, and unsaturated fats all have their place in a healthy diet. In particular, trans fat should be avoided because of the link between its consumption and an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke over time. Caused by an increase in “bad” cholesterol (LDL) and a decrease in “good” cholesterol (HDL), trans fat contributes to arterial plaque buildup (HDL). Your blood circulation will greatly benefit from eliminating them from your diet. 

2- Get quality sleep.

Sleep is crucial to maintaining a healthy cardiovascular system. Lack of sleep has been linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease in people of all ages and lifestyles. Sleeping less than six hours every night increases your risk of heart attack and stroke by almost 50%, according to a study of 3,000 people over the age of 45. As shown by the latest scientific research, inadequate sleep has been linked to a variety of secondary health issues and biological processes, including hypertension and inflammation.

3- Keep proper dental hygiene, particularly everyday flossing.

Those who suffer from periodontal (gum) disease share many of the same risk factors as those who suffer from heart disease, making dental health a reliable predictor of general health. Although research on this topic is ongoing, numerous studies have found that oral bacteria linked to gum disease can enter the bloodstream and raise C-reactive protein, a sign of vascular inflammation. These alterations could make you more vulnerable to cardiovascular disease and stroke.

4- Maintain a healthy level of stress.

The heart is only one of several body systems that may be negatively affected by stress and how we manage it. There can be both acute and long-term effects of stress on heart health. Stress, especially if it lingers over time, may raise blood pressure, which in turn raises the risk of cardiovascular problems, including heart attack and stroke. Indirectly, stress can raise the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke by increasing the likelihood that we will make bad health decisions like eating excessively, smoking, and not getting enough exercise.

5- Move around more and sit less!

Recent studies have shown that sitting for lengthy periods of time is unhealthy, regardless of how often you exercise. That’s not good news for the many people who have jobs that require them to sit for long periods of time. Researchers discovered that those who sat the most had a 147 percent increase in cardiovascular events and a 90 percent increase in deaths from these events when looking at the pooled data of various observational studies including approximately 800,000. Blood clots are more prone to form if you sit for long periods of time, so avoid doing so if you can, especially when travelling.

6- Avoid smoking.

Studies show that the risk of cardiovascular disease increases by 25-30% in persons who are exposed to secondhand smoking in the home or workplace. About 34,000 deaths annually are attributed to heart disease and another 7,300 deaths annually are attributed to lung cancer due to exposure to tobacco smoking, according to the American Heart Association. Those who are already at risk for cardiovascular disease due to hypertension or high cholesterol levels from exposure to secondhand smoke are at an even greater risk. This is due to the fact that the chemicals in cigarettes lead to the development of arterial plaque.

Because a healthy heart starts with a healthy lifestyle.