During an average trip to the grocery store, you’d be hard-pressed to avoid seeing a plethora of food packaging sporting a heart-healthy label. Since 1950, heart disease has been the leading cause of death for Americans.
About 697,000 Americans die from heart disease annually, and every 34 seconds someone dies from cardiovascular disease. Saleem Saiyad, MD, board-certified interventional cardiologist and vascular surgeon, agrees that these statistics are sobering; however, there are various steps you can take to reduce your risk of developing heart disease.
In this blog, Dr. Saiyad shares heart-healthy lifestyle tweaks that impact your overall health and vein health.
Let’s address how heart disease and vein health are linked. If you count yourself among the more than 30 million Americans who suffer from a venous disease, such as varicose or spider veins, deep vein thrombosis or DVT, chronic venous insufficiency, peripheral arterial disease or PAD, you probably asked your doctor whether your condition meant you had heart disease as well.
While vein disorders don’t affect your heart health, venous disease and heart disease share common risk factors. Whether you’re talking about venous or heart disease or your overall health, you should do whatever you can to ensure healthy blood flow.
Follow the following five ways to lower your risk of heart disease.
A great place to start your heart-healthy journey is to eat a well-balanced diet and drink lots of water and non-sugar beverages. Processed foods may help cut down food preparation time in the kitchen, but they contain tons of salt, fat, and preservatives, which do more harm than good when fueling your body. Build meals around lean protein, poultry, and fish with lots of vegetables and whole grains. Ditch the chips and salty snacks and replace them with healthy nuts and fruits.
A sedentary lifestyle is a nemesis for health issues, including poor circulation, venous diseases, and heart disease. Getting physical activity or exercise doesn’t mean training for a marathon or even going to the gym every day.
The Surgeon General recommends about 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity weekly, such as brisk walking or bicycling. Find a type of exercise you enjoy and incorporate it into your day. Walking daily, dancing or even doing chores around the house can improve circulation and lower your risk for blood clots, peripheral artery disease, and deep vein thrombosis or stroke.
When you eat healthier and exercise regularly, maintaining a healthy weight comes naturally for most people. Being overweight or obese makes your heart work harder to pump blood throughout your body so that each cell, tissue, and organ can properly function. But when you maintain a healthy weight, your blood pressure, cholesterol, and sugar levels are more apt to register in the normal range, which enhances your overall health and also lowers your risk for conditions like congestive heart failure, DVT, PAD, and pulmonary embolism.
Similarly, being overweight and having high blood pressure and high triglycerides can wreak havoc with your blood sugar levels. Getting chronic conditions like diabetes under control will pay dividends in reducing your risk of developing heart disease, your risk for poor circulation, and your vulnerability to developing venous illnesses like PAD and DVT.
Smoking and tobacco products are the leading risk factor for heart disease. Heart disease causes one out of every five smoking-related deaths. But the health implications don’t stop there. The nicotine and carbon monoxide chemicals in cigarettes can damage your heart and also your veins, which increases the likelihood of venous disease complications from PAD or DVT. If you smoke, talk to your doctor about smoking cessation programs; if you don’t smoke, don’t start. Your veins and your heart will thank you.
If you are concerned about your heart and vein health, contact Premier Vein & Vascular or book an appointment online today at our Tampa or Largo, Florida office.