With the knowledge that cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States, many Americans want to do what they can to protect themselves. Whether you have a genetic predisoposition or a family member who has struggled with cardiovascular disease or you just want to take extra steps to protect yourself, there are things you can do now to help lower your risk of developing this disease. Read on to learn some easy ways you can start reducing your risk today.
When you're concerned about your heart and arteries, the last thing on your mind is probably your teeth and gums. However, the two are connected. Scientists have found that people with severe gum disease have a much higher risk factor of developing heart disease than those who don't have gum disease. To make matters worse, this risk factor increases further if you're already struggling with other risk factors, like high blood pressure.
Seeing a dentist regularly and remembering to brush and floss your teeth can greatly improve your dental health, and in the process, help to reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease.
Almost everyone knows that sugar is bad for their waistline, but the damage it can cause doesn't stop there. A diet high in sugar has been shown to increase the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, and even dying from cardiovascular disease. To make matters worse, gaining weight from excess sugar can increase your risk of cardiovascular disease, making sugar a heavy hitter in the world of cardiovascular disease risk.
While there's nothing wrong with an occasional treat, it's a good idea to limit your overall sugar intake. High-sugar junk food like sodas and juice should be avoided in particular, as you can fill up on sugar very quickly by drinking these beverages.
Get a Pet
Pets - both cats and dogs - are good for your cardiovascular health. People who have dogs tend to be happier and more active, and you probably know that exercise plays a big part in keeping your heart healthy. For folks who have trouble getting off the couch and committing to exercising, a pair of big puppy eyes begging you to go for a walk might just be the nudge you need.
While cats don't provide the exercise boost that dogs do, they're good for your cardiovascular health too. Spending time with cats has been shown to help reduce blood pressure. One study found that having cats can reduce your risk of heart attacks and stroke by up to a third when compared to those who don't have cats.
See a Specialist
Lastly, don't be afraid to reach out to your general practitioner and ask to see a specialist, especially if you have a heightened risk factor or a family history of cardiovascular disease. Working with an expert in the field can help you to be diagnosed early on before serious damage is done, as well as providing you with valuable prevention tips. In addition to catching and controlling disease early on if you develop it, seeing a cardiologist may help you to feel more at ease and less stressed, which can help to protect your cardiovascular health.
Your entire body relies upon your heart to keep blood pumping and oxygen circulating. If you're concerned about your cardiovascular health and future, work with a cardiologist and follow these tips to help reduce your risk of developing cardiovascular disease.