For the most part, cardiovascular disease prevention is a matter of making better lifestyle choices. Unfortunately, there is a segment of the population that has little control over cardiovascular disease. In recent years there have been a few highly fit and trained athletes who have succumbed to congenital heart disease. According to government statistics, most CVDs can be prevented by making changes to diet, physical activity level, and ceasing tobacco use. Also, some health sources suggest that as many as a half of the deaths and disabilities attributed to heart disease can be prevented by reducing such risk factors as high blood pressure, cholesterol levels, obesity, and smoking. Cardiovascular disease prevention should be a concern for both men and women. That’s because CVDs are an equal opportunity health problem. However, some reports suggest that more women of all ages die from heart attacks then do men. Both men and women from all geographical regions or socio-economic level are at risk of heart problems.
Not surprisingly, cardiovascular disease prevention must start early in a person’s life because the detrimental effects of a poor diet, sedentary lifestyle, and other unhealthy choices will not always be immediately seen. Poor choices will more likely show up in the future if allowed to go unchecked. Heat problems can appear in several forms. The major cardiovascular diseases include: heart attack, stroke, hypertension (high blood pressure), heart failure, and rheumatic heart disease. Keep in mind, the heart is a muscle which ages along with the rest of the body. Therefore, early cardiovascular disease prevention is important to help keep the muscle strong and healthy later in life. As the body ages, arteries will narrow and stiffen. At the same time, the walls of the heart are also thickening. Changes in heart condition and strength cause a person’s blood pressure to increase with time, too. These changes occur in both men and women.
With age the risk of heart attack increases. Studies indicate that men over the age of 45 and women over the age of 55 are at the greatest risk. Some heat attack symptoms are typical for both men and women: chest pain, shortness of breath, cold sweat, light-headedness; pain in the arm, back, neck, jaw, or stomach. Other symptoms appear mostly in women: nausea, vomiting, weakness, indigestion, and fatigue. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and cardiovascular disease prevention program is important because heart attack symptoms may be insidious. They appear and develop so gradually that a person may not give them the attention they deserve. Although in some people symptoms can appear suddenly and without warning, in others signs of an impending heart attack may be present six months or more in advance. Cardiovascular diseases are on the rise even in economically developed countries. In fact, heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. And there is plenty of scientific evidence to support the conventional theories as to why this is happening. The three most often cited reasons are imbalanced nutrition, reduced physical activity, and tobacco use. Medical authorities suggest that these lifestyle factors lead to high blood pressure, higher blood cholesterol levels, and obesity.
But there are steps a person can take as part of a cardiovascular disease prevention program. Keep in mind, a Christian should feed and care for his or her body with the same thought and dedication they nurture their spirit. Body and spirit are connected. “So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; raised in corruption: sown in dishonour; raised in glory; sown in weakness; it is raised in power: is sown a natural body; is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. And so it is written, the first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. The first man is of earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven. As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly.” (1 Corinthians 15: 42-48).
First, pray for spiritual strength and guidance on cardiovascular disease prevention. Then begin making changes to dietary habits. Avoid saturated fats and trans-fatty acids. Instead increase consumption of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids can be derived from fish or plant sources. Eat more fruits and vegetables. And increase consumption of whole grains nuts. Limit salt and refined sugar intake. Try to increase physical activity to at least 30 minutes per day. Finally, avoid smoking and try to maintain a healthy body weight. Scientific data indicates that tobacco smoke contains at least 4,800 chemicals, which can damage the heart. Nicotine also narrows the blood vessels. This makes the heart work harder. As a result, the heart rate and blood pressure increase. Carbon monoxide that is found in cigarette smoke displaces oxygen in the blood. Therefore the heart has to work harder to supply oxygen to the body. The good news about smoking is that the risk of heart disease drops dramatically within one year of quitting. Another part of cardiovascular disease prevention is physical activity. Not only does regular exercise strengthen the heart muscle, physical exertion helps control weight. Small weight loss can decrease blood pressure and lower blood cholesterol. There is at least one more step to take: get regular health screenings. Specifically have blood pressure and cholesterol levels checked frequently.