Did you know that coronary heart disease is one of the biggest causes of death in the UK?
Heart disease can strike anyone, but there are measures we can take to reduce our chances of developing it, and adopting healthier behaviours will set you on the right track.
Sometimes referred to as ischaemic heart disease, coronary heart disease is caused by narrowing of the artery walls due to fat build-up. This narrowing hinders the course of the blood, which struggles to reach the heart.
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Coronary heart disease develops gradually over time and can result in heart failure or heart attack. But what exactly causes heart disease? This collaborative post reveals all – and what to do about it.
3 things that increase your risk of heart disease
1. A sedentary lifestyle
Being a couch potato is very dangerous for your heart, even if you’re otherwise healthy and don’t have any other risk factors. Not only does long-term inactivity prevent you from reaping the healthy benefits of exercise, it’s also associated with early death.
A lack of physical exercise can rapidly lead to weight gain, which increases your risk of coronary heart disease even more. Being overweight or obese will leave you feeling drained and fatigued, meaning you’re less likely to feel motivated to get your body moving.
It therefore becomes a vicious cycle of staying put and gaining more weight, which is difficult to break. Try to take measures towards getting more active, even if it’s initially just small steps. Don’t sit for hours on end – if you spend a long time at a desk or in front of the TV, make sure you take regular breaks from sitting. Set an alarm to remind you every 30 minutes to get up and either do some gentle stretches, walk around, or even run on the spot. In time, when you feel more able to, you can increase your physical activity.
2. Poor dental health
It might surprise you to hear that poor dental health is linked to a higher risk of heart disease. It’s thought that the germs present in gum disease enter the bloodstream and travel to the heart where they can infect and damage vulnerable valves. It’s also thought that the inflammation associated with gum disease could play a part in the development of atherosclerotic plaques, also called cholesterol. It’s therefore advisable that you look after your dental health to help reduce your chances of heart disease. Brush your teeth and floss at least twice a day and get regular dental check-ups.
3. Bad diet
A diet that’s high in salt, saturated fats, and sugar is a pathway to heart disease. Too much salt in your diet and carrying excess weight can both cause high blood pressure. Over time, this can damage your arteries and cause an enlarged heart, both of which can lead to a heart attack or stroke. Saturated fat causes cholesterol and, combined with sugar is likely to lead to weight gain and a risk of diabetes.
To support a healthy heart, it’s recommended that you eat a balanced and varied diet that’s rich in nutrients. Supplements are an excellent addition to a low-fat diet and will ensure your body gets all the goodness it needs. Nestle BOOST Optimum, for example, is a delicious drink packed with essential vitamins and minerals to address the nutritional needs of adults.
This is a collaborative post.