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More than half of American adults do not know that they have heart disease The main cause of deathAccording to the American Heart Association. That’s newsworthy, because many deaths are preventable.

Heart disease or cardiovascular disease for a A series of health problems Those who interfere with the work of the heart. Some causes of heart disease are hereditary, but most develop over time. It is the most common type of heart disease in the US Vascular diseaseThis is where plaque builds up in the arteries and restricts blood flow.

People can prevent this type of heart disease or reduce their risk of developing it even if they have a genetic predisposition, such as high cholesterol that runs in families. But many of our daily habits — not eating enough healthy foods, sitting too much and not getting enough sleep — all contribute to what Dr. Andrew Freeman, a cardiologist at National Jewish Health in Denver, calls “the American curse.”

“These are the perfect recipes for early death and disability,” said Freeman, adding that much of the Western world is suffering from the same “curse.”

Here’s what you need to know about heart disease symptoms and the common health risks that can go along with them, as well as how to improve your heart health in a way you can enjoy.

Read more: How healthy is your heart? Search at home without any equipment

Several Rows Of Hearts On A Green Background Several Rows Of Hearts On A Green Background

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What are the symptoms of heart disease?

Your symptoms will be It depends on what happens. In your heart (if there are any symptoms). According to the Cleveland Clinic, early symptoms of heart disease include chest pain, shortness of breath, leg swelling, fatigue and dizziness.

Most people with heart disease have coronary artery disease, which usually causes chest pain (Angina). If your chest pain goes unnoticed and does not stop when you stop moving, you may be having a heart attack and call 911. Acting quickly can greatly improve your chances of surviving a heart attack.

In some cases, the first clue that a person has heart disease is having a heart attack. Signs According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heart attacks can include chest pain or discomfort, weakness or light-headedness, nausea, cold sweats, shoulder pain and shortness of breath. Women may experience less obvious symptoms during a heart attack, e.g Pain in the jaw or backSo if you think you might be having a heart attack, don’t ignore your symptoms.

Since the symptoms of heart disease vary greatly and may not be present at all, the best course of action is to focus on prevention, have regular check-ups and talk to your doctor immediately about any concerns.

What you should know if you have high blood pressure

About half Adults in the United States have high blood pressure. This is important in the discussion of heart disease because high blood pressure can damage the arteries, which is dangerous.

The good news is that high blood pressure can be controlled or reversed, says Dr. Jonathan Vafai, MD, a cardiologist at Delray Medical Center. And most of the things that keep your heart healthy can help control your blood pressure. In some cases (and with the express permission of a doctor who has examined your heart health) they may eliminate your need for medication.

“My favorite thing is to stop people’s blood pressure medications at the right time,” Vafai said.

What about high cholesterol?

of A building block It’s made of cholesterol (and other substances) in your arteries, which is why doctors recommend keeping your cholesterol in a healthy range. The general understanding of cholesterol is complex, but doctors know this Too much “bad” cholesterol Coronary artery disease can cause problems with your blood vessels and heart.

For patients who are middle-aged and at risk for heart disease (high cholesterol or diabetes, for example, or a family history of heart disease), Vafai says he recommends a calcium score scan or other screening test.

this is A series of X-rays They look for calcium plaques, so it’s a non-invasive way to test for risk before symptoms appear.

High cholesterol is similar to other chronic (often asymptomatic) diseases that coexist and affect quality of life. But while the health conditions themselves may seem complicated, your chances of getting them in the first place can be reduced with the same small changes in your daily routine and improvements in your overall well-being.

An Example Of A Heart With Interesting Things Inside An Example Of A Heart With Interesting Things Inside

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1. Eat more plants and whole foods

To lower your risk of heart disease, Freeman recommends a diet that is primarily plant-based, low in fat, and full of “whole foods.” Whole foods don’t need to be fancy – quite the opposite, in fact. You can think of whole foods as “whole foods” — fruits, vegetables, beans, meat, rice, bread, etc. The key is to get the most out of the food source itself and leave out things like added preservatives or sugar.)

One way to start incorporating more nutritious foods into your diet is to focus on adding color to your plate.

Read more: 5 foods for a healthy heart

2. Beware of meat or restrictive foods

High protein diets and “lion diets” have had their time on social media because some People are relieved From a serious illness or health condition to removing things from their plate, giving up a meat-centric eating pattern. But the experts we spoke to advised caution, as your protein choices could come with other health risks, such as eating too much red meat or processed meat.

There is also a keto diet that has been supported by research for weight loss. It may be a healthy choice for some people – but not for everyone.

“When you cut out ‘carbs,’ people tend to overeat carbs, so people lose weight,” says Freeman.

“But that doesn’t mean they’re healthy,” he added.

Pottery In His Living Room Pottery In His Living Room

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3. Move your body (it’s okay)

Sitting too much is bad for your health. But you’d be surprised how little effort it takes to reap the heart health benefits.

“I encourage people to do whatever they can,” said Vafai, who says he’s seen improvements in people’s health after getting a walking dog. Get some exercise every day to get your body moving.

How do you know you’re getting a good workout? Freeman recommends trying to get to the point where it’s “difficult to talk to.”

Here’s more information on how to exercise when you don’t want to and how to get an “activity snack.”

4. Remember what you drink and smoke

By now you probably know that smoking is not good for your health and is linked to heart disease. But other drugs and substances, including alcohol and weed, can also have an effect, Freeman says.

Water is an obvious choice for a heart-healthy beverage, but unsweetened tea and coffee are good choices, Freeman said. Besides the high sugar content of regular soda, think again before reaching for diet soda, such as diet soda. It affects insulinhe said.

5. Learn from the ‘blue zone’

The rumor is true. Freeman recommends taking notes from people who live in the “blue zone” (which is Loma Linda, California in the US). These are areas where people tend to live longer, with their communities, diet, activity and sleep patterns all contributing to longevity.

Two Figures Are Trying To Hug Each Other In Their Respective Glass Cases. Two Figures Are Trying To Hug Each Other In Their Respective Glass Cases.

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6. Destress and connect

We are in a “loneliness epidemic” for a reason. Experts know that loneliness and social isolation are related Poor health outcomes — including heart disease and early death — but determining the exact mechanism is difficult. Stress hormones and a few relationship lifestyle factors may play a role.

Cultural events, especially those that suffer from social bonding, are one cause of heart disease, Freeman says. While there’s no quick fix for something so prevalent and integrated into our culture, Freeman recommends something like meditation or a walk in the woods.

For more, here are some strategies on how to deal with feelings of loneliness and everyday stress.