Your chances of developing heart disease come down to the number of risk factors you have for it. The more factors, the higher the chance of getting it. Let’s take a look at 10 of the most common risk factors of heart disease:
- Heart Blood Pressure
- Diabetes and prediabetes
- Being overweight or obese
- Being physically inactive
- Unhealthy Diet
- High blood cholesterol
- A family history of early heart disease
- History of preeclampsia in pregnancy
If you have a propensity toward high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes, it may be genetic-related but even so, all three are controllable with the proper diet, exercise, and medication. Keeping them in check will lower your chances of contracting heart disease, however, you first have to know your numbers.
How does your blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar stack up against the standards for each bodily vital? Getting an annual health check-up, will let you know your numbers, and help your doctor to prescribe treatment to get high numbers back where they should be.
As far as the risk factors of smoking, overweight, being sedentary and eating an unhealthy diet, all of these are also completely within your control. There are several programs available at your local pharmacy to help you overcome smoking, but none of them will work unless you are mentally prepared to quit.
Becoming more active by exercising and eating a healthy diet, the weight you want to lose will start coming off. Here again, losing weight, exercising and eating healthy are all things you have to want to do to improve your health and longevity … not the things others want you to do.
As long as you are at the doctor getting checked out, ask for your doctor’s advice on quitting smoking, losing weight, getting more exercise and eating a more healthy diet. All you need is the will and a plan to overcome them and those risk factors will be at or close to zero.
With all of the risk factors except the last three in your control, you have greatly reduced your risk of heart disease and lowered your chances of having a heart-related event. While you can’t control the last three factors, you can have an effect on the other seven.
Start taking the steps to lower your risk of heart disease today. Tomorrow may be too late to get a second chance.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States. Every year, 1 in 4 deaths are caused by heart disease.
The good news? Heart disease can often be prevented when people make healthy choices and manage their health conditions. Communities, health professionals, and families can work together to create opportunities for people to make healthier choices. You can make healthy changes to lower your risk of developing heart disease. Controlling and preventing risk factors is also important for people who already have heart disease.
Celebrate National Wear Red Day to raise awareness about women and heart disease. Encourage everyone in your community to wear red on February 1, 2019. Visit Go Red for Women for more information. Host an American Heart Month event at a local school, health center, or library. Spread the word about strategies for preventing heart disease and encourage people to live heart-healthy lives. Spread the word about strategies for preventing heart disease and encourage people to live heart-healthy lives.
A few ideas: Encourage families to make small changes, like using spices to season their food instead of salt. Motivate teachers and administrators to make physical activity a part of the school day. This can help students start good habits early. Ask doctors and nurses to be leaders in their communities by speaking out about ways to prevent heart disease.
Sounds crazy but, most studies show drinking water does boost your metabolism but by how much? According to a 2003 study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology, participants showed a 30 percent metabolic increase that lasted between 10 and 40 minutes after drinking two cups of water. By drinking the recommended 8 cups per day, you would burn an additional 96 calories. Other studies support these finding, just not to this great of an extent.
Keep in mind, drinking water alone will not increase your metabolism enough to show any appreciable weight loss, but when added to your other weight loss efforts it will help, plus it will keep you from being dehydrated – a major nemesis to weight loss.
If keeping hydrated is part of a weight loss strategy, then why do 22 percent of us not get our 8 glasses per day? Because we falsely use thirst as our guide to drink.
Most studies have found that by the time you feel thirsty, you have already lost 2 percent of the water in your body. While that might not sound like much, it is huge when our body is made up of at least 50 percent water.
Tricks to increase your water consumption
There are a few hacks you can use to get the most metabolic increase from the water you drink:
Drink it cold: When you drink something cold, the body has to work harder to warm the liquid up to body core temperature. The warming process burns additional calories over drinking tepid to lukewarm water – water that is closer to body core temperature.
Add lemon to it: Adding lemon to your water does a couple of things – 1) it makes your water taste better and 2) one lemon has up to 40 percent of your daily requirement of vitamin C and provides the replacement of the electrolytes potassium, magnesium, sodium, and calcium lost during an exercise workout. All with the addition of only 15 calories.
Put a day’s worth of water in a pitcher: It is easy to lose track of how much (or how little) water you drink in a day. An easy way is to fill a pitcher with 64 ounces of water, add the juice of one lemon and put it in the refrigerator. All three hacks accomplished at once. Periodically throughout the day get a glass of water from the pitcher. Make sure it is empty by the end of the day.
Drinking an adequate amount of water not only speeds up your metabolism but is so important for good health. Make it a part of your daily regimen so that you ensure you are getting enough.
The short answer is “It depends!” because how fast you get into shape is directly relevant to your present physical condition and how fast your body reacts to physical conditioning. For example, someone 10 pounds overweight, but with no physical limitations, will get in shape a lot faster than someone 50 pounds overweight with Type II diabetes and bad knees.
Not only will it take the second individual longer to get in shape, but s/he will also need to use a different strategy. And the reality is the second person may never get to the fitness level of the first one. But it is not a competition, it is individual and doing anything is better than doing nothing.
Getting fit after years of inactivity is like taking a car out for a drive after it has been set for ten years. If you are a car aficionado, you know you wouldn’t get in it and see how fast you could max out the r.p.ms in every gear. You would baby it along and gradually get it up to speed. The body after years of “non-use” is the same way.
You want to start slow and gradually work your way up the fitness ladder. The American Heart Association recommends a good place to start is exercise three to four times per week, 30 to 60 minutes each time, with a target heart rate of 50% to 60% of your maximum heart rate. To calculate your maximum heart rate take 220 – your age (for men) or 226 – your age (for women).
For example, the maximum heart rate for a 50-year-old man would be 170. Sixty percent of that figure would be 102 beats per minute. Increase your level of activity over a 6-week period eventually getting your target heart rate up to 70 to 80% (80% would be 136).
A good place to start is with a mix of cardio and strength training. Walking, running, playing tennis, biking and swimming are all good cardio activities that will get your heart rate up to your target range. Of course before starting your exercise routine, be sure to warm-up with stretching both before and after working out.
If you have bad knees, then substitute an elliptical trainer for walking or running and don’t even think of playing tennis. With either cardio or strength training, adjust time/intensity and weight/repetitions to keep your heart rate in the appropriate range. With strength training, start out with light on weight and repetitions and work up.
The other half of getting fit is eating right. While you are at the doctor getting checked out to see if you are fit enough to start an exercise program, also ask about a nutrition plan. It will be different for you if you have to lose a lot of weight than it would be if you are already at the proper weight for your height and age.
Getting fit is about setting a goal and then gradually working up to reach that goal. Trying to reach your goal as quickly as possible is just asking for a debilitating injury which could set you back months.
People have a hundred and one reasons why they don’t start working on getting fitter today, most are not valid, including not having enough time, a common excuse. Everyone can find the time to exercise and eat right. It is just the motivation to get moving has to be greater than the excuses not to.
Usually some event, like a health scare, happens that creates the desire to start getting fit. But in the process, you’ll see these other benefits:
To lose one pound of weight in a week, you have to burn 3,500 more calories than you eat in that week. Most people get in trouble with their weight because they are eating far too many calories for the number of calories they burn. Excess calories are stored as fat.
If you break that 3,500 calories per week down into a daily amount – 500 calories – it is more manageable. Eat 250 fewer calories per day and burn off 250 more calories by doing some exercise. Skip the latte in the morning or the can of pop loaded with sugar and you probably reduced your calorie count by at least 250. Walk at 3.5 mph for an hour and you burn 298 calories. There is your 500 + calorie deficit with just those two small changes.
Strengthen your bones
As you age, you start to lose bone density at the rate of 10% by age 50 and if sedentary, another 10% every 10 years thereafter. By including some weight training into your exercise program, you can help slow bone loss as you grow older.
Tone up muscles
With toned muscles, not only will you look better, but your balance will be better and you’ll maintain flexibility in your joints. Weight training can help build muscle which will then help you burn more calories even at rest. And if you burn more calories, you’ll have an easier time maintaining your weight.
Reduce your risk for certain diseases
Your risk to develop heart disease, Type II diabetes and some types of cancers, including colon and breast, increase significantly if you are overweight and out of shape. As your Body Mass Index increases, so do your risk of a heart attack or stroke due to narrowed or blocked arteries.
And if your heart has to work harder to pump blood through narrowed passages, it increases your blood pressure, which causes health issues of its own.
If you already have Type II diabetes and you are overweight, the effects of diabetes will diminish (or in many cases go away entirely) if you lose weight. At the very least you’ll have to take less medication. The best case scenario is you can get off medication altogether.
You can make a change in your fitness level. But you have to start today; tomorrow may be too late.