Heart matters: navigating cardiovascular health

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) remains one of the leading causes of mortality globally, encompassing a range of conditions affecting the heart and blood vessels.

The most common type of cardiovascular disease is coronary artery disease, which can lead to heart attacks, angina, and other serious complications.

CVD can also manifest as stroke, peripheral artery disease, and other conditions.

CVD occurs primarily due to atherosclerosis, a process where plaque. made up of cholesterol, fat and other substances, builds up inside the arteries, narrowing them and restricting blood flow.

Over time, the plaque can rupture, leading to blood clot formation which can block blood flow to the heart or brain, causing a heart attack or stroke, respectively.

The prevalence of CVD is significant, with millions of cases reported worldwide each year, affecting individuals of all ages, genders, and ethnicities.

Risk factors of CVD include:

CVD often presents with symptoms such as chest pain or discomfort, shortness of breath, fatigue, and weakness.

Early detection and intervention are crucial for managing the disease and preventing complications.

To prevent CVD, adopting a healthy lifestyle is essential, encompassing regular exercise and a balanced diet, which reduces the risk of developing the disease.

Exercise helps maintain a healthy weight, improves blood circulation, lowers blood pressure, and reduces cholesterol levels.

It is recommended to aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week, along with strength training exercises targeting major muscle groups.

In terms of diet, the focus should be on consuming a variety of nutrient-rich foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats, limiting intake of saturated and trans fats, sodium, and added sugars.

Additionally, avoid smoking and limit alcohol consumption reduces CVD risk further.

By making these lifestyle changes, you can significantly lower your risk of developing cardiovascular disease and improve your overall health and well-being.

Always consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new exercise or diet regimen, especially if you have existing health conditions or concerns.

Ethan May

Exercise Physiologist