Health or Sickness: Your Last 10 Years
A powerful video from the Heart & Stroke Foundation in Canada asks what will your last 10 years look like. It shows powerful scenes of a man living 2 lives - one, a healthy active life, the other, sick and dying. It's a scary thing to think about, but something that should be addressed sooner rather than later.
Here in the U.S., heart disease is the leading cause of death. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 610,000 Americans die of heart disease every year - 1 in every 4 deaths.
What is Heart Disease
Heart disease is a term that includes a number of conditions that affect the heart including congenital abnormalities, coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, heart failure, stroke, arrhythmia, and more.
Signs & Symptoms of Heart Disease
The signs and symptoms vary depending upon your type of heart disease. Knowing the early warning signs and symptoms can help prevent a life-threatening emergency. If you notice any of these warning signs, consult your doctor immediately.
- Symptoms may include:
- Chest pain or discomfort
- Irregular heart beat
- Shortness of breath
- Extreme fatigue
- Dizziness or fainting
- Weakness or cold arms or legs
Risk Factors for Heart Disease
The following conditions put people at a higher risk of heart disease:
- High blood pressure
- High blood pressure
- Poor diet
- Being inactive
Preventing Heart Disease
Although some forms of heart disease can not be prevented, such as congenital heart disease due to birth defects, many types of heart disease can be prevented and treated by healthy lifestyle changes.
Eat foods low in saturated and trans fat. Reduce your intake of sodium and sugar. Eat plenty of plant-based foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and legumes (beans). Replace dairy milk with nut milk and limit meat. Studies show that those who eat healthy vegan diet significantly lower their risk of heart disease as well as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and certain cancers.
Smoking increases your risk of coronary heart disease. By quitting smoking, you can reduce your risk level of heart disease and heart attacks to that of someone who has never smoked.
Stress is an unavoidable part of life, however too much stress is bad for your heart. It can raise blood pressure and lead to unhealthy habits such as overeating, smoking, or alcohol, which all increase your risk for heart disease. Managing stress can lead to a healthier heart.
Become Physically Active
Add physical activity to your day. Take a walk at lunch or after dinner, get up and move around at work, join a gym, take group yoga or exercise classes. The American Heart Association share some great tips on ways to get active.
Every little bit helps to reduce your risk of heart disease. Don't wait until it's too late. "What will your last 10 years look like?"
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