The heart is a very important organ of the body. It is the pump that recirculates your blood which has many functions that are vital to life. The blood carries oxygen and nutrients to all the cells and tissues. It collects waste material from cells like urea nitrogen, serum creatinine, uric acid, and many more. The blood also transports hormones which the body uses to send signals to other parts of the body. The blood regulates body pH and its core temperature. The heart and the blood work together to do many important things.
If you don’t take care of your heart it can have a host of problems like cardiomyopathies (diseases that damage the heart muscles), coronary artery disease, diseases of the heart valves, high blood pressure, and heart attacks. While there are many medications to help sufferers of these diseases, they are quite expensive and have side effects. It is far better to take care of your heart while it is still healthy and keep it from disease than it is to maintain or restore its health.
Heart disease is the USA’s leading killer. It is the cause of one out of every three deaths. It causes serious illness and disability. At least half of all Americans have one or more risk factors and many don’t even know it. Some of the risk factors are diabetes, inactivity, obesity, smoking, poor diet, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.
98.9 million adults in the United States age 20 and older have a total blood cholesterol level of 200 mg/dL or higher. About 90% of all Americans will develop hypertension in their lifetime. Two out of three adults in America are overweight and one out of three are considered obese. More than 50% of American adults are not getting the recommended 150 minutes per week of good physical activity.
Some of the warning signs of a heart attack are chest discomfort. A warning sign is if discomfort in the chest lasts more than several minutes or goes away and comes back. Also it can feel like pressure, pain, fullness, or squeezing. The pain or discomfort can appear in the arms, back, neck, jaw, or stomach. There may also be shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort. Other signs can include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea, or lightheadedness. If any of these signs happen, please call 9-1-1.
Here are some tips to and thoughts to help you increase your heart health.
If the blood vessels are constricted, the heart is forced to work harder in moving blood all through the body system. This will cause your blood pressure to increase. Magnesium has been shown to reduce high blood pressure because it relaxes the blood vessels causing them to be less restricted. Eating a diet that includes foods rich in magnesium is a good way to help reduce your blood pressure. Some of these foods include dark leafy greens, nuts, seeds, beans, whole grains, avocados, bananas, and other fruit.
The best greens for magnesium are swiss chard, kale, and collard greens. The seeds and nuts with the highest amount of magnesium are sesame seeds, brazil nuts, almonds, and cashews. The best beans for magnesium are white beans, french beans, black-eyed peas, and kidney beans. The best whole grains for magnesium are quinoa, millet, bulgur wheat, buckwheat, and wild rice.
Another way you can improve your heart health is with vigorous exercise. Be sure to consult your doctor before starting any exercise program. In a study done by J.N. Morris, R. Pollard, M.G. Everitt, S.P.W. Chave, and A.M. Semmence, there was a 50% reduction of coronary heart disease incidence in men who exercised over those who didn’t. They were lower in both fatal and non-fatal clinical manifestations. The study included men who had a family history of coronary heart disease, the obese, the short of stature, cigarette smokers, and men with severe hypertension and subclinical angina, as well as in those in favorable situations for coronary heart disease or neutral. The study shows that vigorous exercise provides a natural protective effect for the body.
Your heart is a muscle that becomes healthier and stronger in those who have an active life. It is never too late to begin exercising and becoming healthier. A brisk walk for 30 minutes every day will make a big difference in your heart health. When you get in the habit of exercising, you will discover that it pays off. Individuals who do not exercise have double chances of getting heart disease compared to those who actively exercise.
For the exercise to benefit your heart, it needs to be aerobic exercise known as cardio because it relates to the heart. Examples of cardio exercise are running, jogging, and biking. If you are moving fast enough to raise your heart rate and breathe harder than normal, you are improving your heart. Walking is a good place to start but you need to walk fast enough that your heart rate and breathing are higher than resting rates. If you have problems with your joints, pick a low-impact exercise such as swimming or hiking.
Decide today to improve your heart health so you can enjoy life to its fullest and live a long healthy life.Written by Daniel Baldwin
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