Understanding Heart Disease & How to Avoid It
High blood pressure is dangerous for a number of reasons, one of which is its association with heart disease.
Hypertensive heart disease has claimed countless lives as a result of high blood pressure, so knowing how to keep your blood pressure low is of the utmost importance. Oftentimes, high blood pressure shows no symptoms, making it difficult to address immediately. Speak with a doctor if you have any reason to believe you have high blood pressure. In addition to eating healthier and exercising more, your doctor can prescribe medication that helps lower your blood pressure.
What is Heart Disease?
Heart disease is an infection of your heart’s blood vessels. As these blood vessels become blocked, nutrients and oxygen have a harder time of reaching the heart, which can cause a heart attack. One in every four deaths in the United States is a result of heart disease, making it the biggest killer of both men and women.
Heart disease is one of many cardiovascular diseases that can inhibit your heart and blood vessels from functioning properly. Contrary to popular belief, a heart disease diagnosis is permanent, as there is no cure for it. That being said, changing your lifestyle and treating your body properly can decrease your chances of having a heart attack or stroke. Consult with your doctor to learn how to stop heart disease from forming in the first place.
What is High Blood Pressure?
When you have high blood pressure, it means your blood is pushing on the walls of your blood vessels with too much force. Your blood vessels are responsible for carrying blood to and from the heart, so when they become damaged, your heart has to work harder. As your artery tissues begin to deteriorate over time due to the high blood pressure, your heart can degrade in efficiency and potentially give out.
Similar to heart disease, high blood pressure is also hard to detect in its early stages. In any case, it’s better to be safe than sorry and have your blood pressure checked by your doctor. Healthy lifestyle choices and the right treatment can help you learn to live with high blood pressure and manage it.
Symptoms & Health Risks
Heart disease and high blood pressure are two silent killers that are often left undiagnosed until a serious or fatal incident. The only way to be sure whether or not you’re in good health is to work with a healthcare professional. While both of these conditions are hard to spot, there are some warning signs that you should look out for to ensure your well-being.
High blood pressure makes it harder for your heart to pump blood throughout your body. The effects of high blood pressure can cause a number of problems that are detrimental to your overall health. Symptoms of high blood pressure include:
- Chest pain
- Irregular heartbeat
- Throbbing headaches
- Vision impairment
Heart disease can often develop as a result of high blood pressure and can cause serious damage to your respiratory and circulatory systems. The most common symptom associated with heart disease is intense chest pain, known as angina. In addition to angina, other symptoms of heart disease include:
- Heart palpitations
- Discomfort in the jaw, neck and/or throat
- Feeling faint or weak
- Difficulty breathing
The health risks associated with both heart disease and high blood pressure should be taken seriously, as living a long and healthy life requires you to make the right choices at the right time
For some people, the onset of these conditions is due to their genetic makeup, since one’s race, gender, and family history can all contribute to developing heart disease and high blood pressure.
Individuals that use tobacco and drink alcohol often are also more likely to have hypertension. A lack of exercise can exert too much pressure on your arterial walls, as can unhealthy eating habits. So, while you may be more prone to having heart disease or high blood pressure, you can diminish their effects by making healthy lifestyle choices and tackling your condition head on.
Food & Diet
What you eat on a day-to-day basis largely impacts your body and heart’s overall health. A diet that includes many vitamins and minerals (while avoiding food with high fat and/or cholesterol) greatly reduces the likelihood of heart disease or high blood pressure developing. Vegetables, fruits, and whole grains all provide your body with the quality nutrients it needs to function properly. Processed foods usually contain a higher level of sodium than your body requires, so try and stick to natural foods or find low-sodium alternatives.
Red wine has been known to increase levels of “good” cholesterol that can prevent your blood vessels from clogging. While the antioxidants in wine may benefit the health of the heart, it’s still an alcohol, which can cause severe problems if handled improperly. A glass of wine with dinner can aid the effectiveness of your heart, but always drink in moderation, as too much alcohol can cause short-term and long-term risks for your health.