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Factors that can increase the chances of heart disease, tips to keep it at bay | Health

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Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death worldwide, claiming millions of lives each year and it is a term that encompasses a range of conditions that affect the heart and blood vessels including heart attacks, strokes and coronary artery disease. Understanding the risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease is crucial in preventing its onset and managing its impact on our health.

Risk factors that can increase the chances of heart disease, tips to keep cardiovascular issues at bay (Unsplash)
Risk factors that can increase the chances of heart disease, tips to keep cardiovascular issues at bay (Unsplash)

The risk factors for cardiovascular disease:

In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Bipeenchandra Bhamre, Consultant Cardiac Surgeon at Sir HN Reliance Foundation Hospital and Research Centre in Mumbai, shared, “One major risk factor for cardiovascular disease is smoking. The chemicals found in tobacco smoke can damage blood vessels and reduce the amount of oxygen available to the heart muscles, increasing the likelihood of heart attacks and strokes. Another significant risk factor is high blood pressure or hypertension. When left uncontrolled, high blood pressure puts strain on the arteries and weakens them over time, making it more likely for blockages to occur in vital organs such as the brain or heart. Stress can also impact the heart leading to a heart attack.”

He added, “Obesity and physical inactivity are also prominent risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Excess weight puts additional stress on the heart and increases cholesterol levels, while lack of regular exercise weakens cardiac muscles over time. Additionally, an unhealthy diet high in saturated fats, cholesterol, and sodium can contribute to plaque buildup in arteries and increase one’s chances of developing cardiovascular problems later in life.”

Blaming diabetes as another factor leading to cardiovascular disease, he explained, “The human body requires glucose or sugar in order to obtain energy. Insulin, a hormone produced in the pancreas, aids in the transportation of glucose from the food consumed to the cells of the body for energy. In individuals with diabetes, either their body does not produce enough insulin or it is unable to effectively utilise its own insulin. Consequently, diabetes leads to an accumulation of sugar in the bloodstream. Adults with diabetes face a greater risk of heart disease-related mortality compared to those without diabetes. By recognising these risk factors early on, individuals can take proactive steps towards adopting healthier lifestyle habits that promote optimal cardiovascular health.”

Tips to prevent cardiovascular disease at bay:

Assuring that there are several preventive measures individuals can take to keep these diseases at bay and maintain a healthy heart, Dr Bipeenchandra Bhamre suggetsed, “First and foremost, adopting a balanced diet is crucial. Incorporating fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats into your meals not only provides essential nutrients but also helps to reduce the risk of heart disease. Regular physical activity is another key factor in preventing cardiovascular diseases. Engaging in activities such as walking, jogging, swimming, or cycling for at least 30 minutes most days of the week improves circulation and strengthens the heart muscles.”

He concluded, “Additionally, maintaining an optimum weight is beneficial for the heart. Carrying excess weight puts strain on the heart and increases the risk of conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes that can contribute to heart disease. Stress management plays an often overlooked role in maintaining a healthy heart.”

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