Most people are born with a healthy cardiovascular system. At the same time, someone maintains health for many years and does not know what pain in the heart or tachycardia is, while the other already, after 40 years, feels discomfort just climbing the stairs. It’s about manageable risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Manageable are factors that depend on lifestyle. We can change our lifestyle, reducing heart and vascular disease risk. How to do it? The question is answered by the deputy chief physician of the regional Public Health Center,
Why does the heart muscle wear out?
The heart muscle alternately contracts and relaxes. The faster and more prolonged the heart beats, the quicker the heart muscle wears out – this happens in proportion to the number of heart contractions. However, other concomitant factors also influence the state of the cardiovascular system, such as the volume of the heart muscle, the elasticity of the walls of blood vessels, blood flow, body weight, and others. During the day, the heart muscle makes about 100,000 contractions. With each contraction, the heart pushes 150 ml of blood into the bloodstream. You can count how many times during a lifetime the heart muscle contracts. In this case, the amount will directly depend on age, so the first risk factor for cardiovascular diseases is a person’s age. However, there are also manageable risk factors, such as overweight and obesity, smoking, and alcohol abuse.
How does smoking affect heart health?
Smoking is dangerous because it blocks oxygen flow into the blood, hence the heart muscle. In addition to oxygen starvation, the heart muscle also suffers from the harmful substances contained in cigarettes that come with the blood. Smoking narrows the walls of blood vessels. In addition, the lumen of blood vessels can be clogged with blood clots – therefore, smokers have a five-fold higher risk of myocardial infarction.
You said that being overweight also affects the health of the heart and blood vessels. Why and how to deal with it?
The more weight, the higher the load on the heart – this is an obvious fact. You can check if you are overweight by going through an examination at a health center. Specialists will measure height, weight, and waist circumference and calculate the body mass index. If you want to lose weight, you must adjust your lifestyle. Proper nutrition and physical activity will help you stay in shape even after 40 years. Include fish, lean meats (turkey, chicken), cereals, dairy products, vitamin-rich vegetables and fruits, and greens in your diet. At the same time, you must limit the consumption of fatty, sweet, salty foods. If everything is clear with heavy and sweet, then salty is often in doubt – is it so harmful? In fact, salt retains fluid in the tissues, causing an increase in blood pressure and creating an increased load on the heart muscle.
What level of physical activity is considered optimal?
Daily physical activity is at least 30 minutes of aerobic activity (running, cycling, gymnastics, gardening, cardio training). Another way to maintain an optimal level of physical activity can be walking. On the day, you need to make from 7,000 to 10,000 steps – this is 1.5-2 hours of walking.
How does alcohol affect the heart and blood vessels?
Under the influence of high doses of alcohol, the heart muscle cannot contract intensively enough, the heart rhythm is disturbed, tachycardia develops, oxygen supply to the blood is blocked, and the blood volume in general decreases.
What else is needed for the health of the heart and blood vessels?
Complete sleep. Not everyone knows that for heart health and maintaining an average body weight, the duration of night sleep is important – you need to sleep 7-8 hours a day. Good rest is the key to the successful work of many organs, but the heart is the first. It also helps fight stress. A positive outlook on life, the ability to build relationships with others, and the optimal mode of work and rest are also essential factors that determine a person’s health in general and the cardiovascular system in particular. Remember to monitor your blood pressure daily. At the age of 40 years and older, this should be done daily, and if there are problems, twice a day and additionally in case of poor health. Usually, blood pressure should be no higher than 130/80 mm Hg. Art., for people over 65 years old – no higher than 140/90 mm Hg. Art.