One of the biggest contributors to a chronic heart disease is a lack of a healthy lifestyle. Your lifestyle is your best defense against heart disease and stroke.
A heart-healthy lifestyle includes following a few simple steps so you can reduce most of the risk factors for heart disease, heart attack and stroke.
What are the heart conditions in Australia?
Heart conditions are a range of diseases that affect the normal working of the heart. These include congenital heart defects, arrhythmias (irregular heartbeats), cardiovascular diseases referring to narrowed or blocked blood vessels. These diseases can lead to stroke or heart attacks and can affect your quality of life drastically.
Australia has a huge heart disease issue. Chronic heart diseases are by far the leading cause of death.
In 2017 alone, a staggering 43,000+ deaths were caused by cardiovascular diseases alone. Heart diseases accounted for almost half the deaths. About 4.2 million Australians suffer from a form of chronic heart conditions. That is about one in six people affected by this deadly disease in the country. About 75% of Australians have been diagnosed with one heart disease or the other by their doctors. At least 57,000 Australians suffer from heart attacks every single year.
What are the causes of heart diseases in Australia?
In 2012, one-third of adult Australians representing about 5.6 million people had measured high cholesterol in their systems. Excess cholesterol is dangerous because it clogs up the arteries causing atherosclerosis (a cardiovascular disease) which narrows the arteries and reduces or completely blocks blood flow to the heart which leads to stroke.
An estimated one in seven Australians aged 15 and above are heavy smokers. Does smoking really affect the heart? You bet it does. Smoking damages the arteries which leads to clogging of the arteries with fatty materials which can lead to a heart attack. Carbon monoxide from smoking contaminates the blood and reduces the oxygen content which strains the heart as it needs to pump harder to supply enough oxygen to the body.
In 2015, about 63% of adult Australians were overweight or obese. Naturally, more body fat needs a higher quantity of blood. This pressure on the heart to pump more - over a period of time - causes different types of heart conditions.
65% of Australians are involved in little or no exercise. It is no wonder that high blood pressure is prevalent in Australia. Exercise is very important because it reduces blood pressure and therefore reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
How to improve your heart health?
There are quite a few easy lifestyle changes you can make to reduce your chances of getting a heart disease.
The food and the amount you eat can affect your health. Think of high cholesterol, diabetes, weight problems, high blood pressure. Our first advise is a healthy food environment.
You should focus on creating a healthy diet that supports positive eating behaviours and the maintenance of a healthy weight. Encourage people from a young age to make a healthy choice in food. This is linked to better nutrition and a lifelong healthier eating behaviour, thereby reducing the risks of overweight, obesity and cardiovascular disease later in life. Choose nutrient-rich food high in vitamins, minerals and fibers. Emphasize on the intake of fruit, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and nuts.
Physical activity will help you burn the calories you are taking in. Exercising every day will improve your heart health. You don’t have to run a marathon to help lower your blood pressure, lower your cholesterol or keep your weight at a healthy level.
To improve your cardiovascular condition, try to achieve a moderate level of fitness and be physically active 20 to 30 minutes a day. Integrate a walk in your daily routine and mix it up with other types of exercise such as bike exercises. You can even do these at home with our pedal exerciser which will help you move your legs and even your arms.
We would really encourage you to stop smoking. We know it is difficult and tough. But it is even tougher to recover from a heart attack or stroke.
Limit your alcohol
If you drink too much alcohol, this can increase your chances of a stroke, cardiomyopathy or raise your blood pressure. It can produce arrhythmia or irregular heartbeats and contribute to high triglyceride, the most common type of fat in the body. Limit your alcohol consumption to no more than two drinks a day for men, and one for women.
Helpful daily living aids for your heart health
Aerobic exercise is a great form of exercise to keep your heart in good condition. Aerobic exercises include activities like jogging, walking, swimming, cycling, stretching etc.
Heart fitness equipment such as the NordicTrack treadmill, Assault Airbike, Loumet Fitness Ball Pro, Pedal Exerciser help with indoor exercising. The Loumet Fitness Ball Pro, for example, is used for stretching which improves breathing and increases airflow to the heart.
The exercises above are also important for weight loss and fitness maintenance. Measurement of your progress when it comes to weight loss is very important for motivation to keep going. Digital scales can be used to regularly check your weight in order to keep track of weight loss.
For those that engage in walking as exercise, the pedometer can be useful to track how many steps you take. This can be used as a measure of how much distance you should cover even if you change location.
Blood pressure monitors help you keep track of your blood pressure and pulse rate. It is important to keep monitor your blood pressure to avoid having a stroke due to overly high blood pressure.
For most of us, preventing heart disease depends largely on our lifestyle, Making some lifestyle changes can be easier said than done. But working these changes into your daily routine can make a real difference in your quality of life for the future and will reduce a lot of the risk factors for heart disease.