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How Important is Cardiovascular Health and Fitness for Longevity?

by Grace Sianna
heart checkup

The cardiovascular system plays a big role in keeping you alive. It is made up of the heart, blood vessels, and blood, which are all vital elements in carrying out the following functions:

  • The transport of essential nutrients, hormones, and oxygen to the cells in the body
  • The removal of carbon dioxide, nitrogenous wastes, and other metabolic wastes
  • The regulation of body temperature, the water content of the cells, and fluid pH
  • The clotting process that protects the body from blood loss
  • The protection created by the antibodies, white blood cells, and proteins in the blood against toxins and foreign microbes

Unfortunately, there are certain things — such as poor diet and bad habits — that can threaten and put your cardiovascular system at risk, resulting in diseases and other health problems that lower your quality of life.

What are some common cardiovascular problems to watch out for?

Heart attack

Every year, millions of people around the world suffer from heart attacks. It happens when the blood flow to the heart is disrupted or blocked usually by fat or cholesterol buildups in the coronary arteries. Also called myocardial infarction, its common signs and symptoms include:

    • Pain, tightness, or pressure in the chest, arms, jaw, neck, or back
    • Sudden lightheadedness or dizziness
    • Cold sweat
    • Nausea
    • Abdominal pain
    • Fatigue

Risk factors of a heart attack include:

    • Family history of heart attack
    • Being overweight or obese
    • Having high blood pressure or high cholesterol levels
    • Being diabetic
    • Smoking
    • Lack of exercise
    • Old age

Coronary artery disease

Also known as coronary heart disease or heart disease, coronary artery disease is a cardiovascular problem caused by buildups of plaque in the arteries, narrowing the blood passageways and restricting blood and oxygen flow to the heart. Some of its common signs and symptoms are:

    • human heartDizziness
    • Nausea
    • Shortness of breath
    • Fatigue
    • Sweating
    • Heart palpitations
    • Increased heart rate

Risk factors of coronary heart disease include:

    • Being 45 years or older for men or post-menopausal stage for women
    • Family history of coronary heart diseases
    • Having high cholesterol and blood pressure levels
    • Smoking
    • Having high blood glucose levels or being diabetic
    • Being obese

Vascular disease

A type of cardiovascular disease, vascular disease refers to diseases that affect the arteries and veins of the body’s circulatory system. It has different types, such as peripheral artery disease, erythromelalgia, renal artery stenosis, and cerebrovascular disease, and triggers several signs and symptoms, including:

    • Numbness in the arms or legs
    • Painful cramps in the hips, legs, or thighs
    • Swelling in the ankles and feet
    • Increased skin temperature in the feet or arms
    • Skin redness
    • Impaired kidney function, resulting in fluid retention
    • Erectile dysfunction in men

Risk factors of vascular disease include:

    • Family history of heart attack or stroke
    • Smoking
    • Having high blood glucose levels or being diabetic
    • Being obese
    • Having high blood pressure and cholesterol levels
    • Old age, particularly if you are 50 years old or older

How do you take good care of your cardiovascular health?

To have a healthy and happy heart for a long time, you should start making healthy lifestyle choices now. The following are the two most important changes that you have to do for optimal cardiovascular health and wellbeing:

  1. Eat healthily

What you eat is crucial to your cardiovascular health. You have to make sure that your daily diet consists of foods that are rich in essential vitamins and minerals that your heart needs to function properly. Stay away from foods that are high in salt, sugar, and fat, as they can increase your cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure levels, which is one of the primary causes of cardiovascular disease.

Examples of heart-friendly foods are:

    • Salmon, tuna, mackerel, and other fatty fish

These are overflowing with omega-3 fatty acids that offer a ton of health benefits, including reducing cholesterol and blood sugar levels and lowering the risk of high blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes.

    • Green, leafy vegetables

These are excellent sources of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that can boost artery health and function and promote blood clotting. They have also been found to have the ability to significantly lower the risk of heart disease. Some highly recommended green, leafy veggies to include in your diet are spinach and kale.

    • Whole grains

food for heart healthThese are rich in essential nutrients that can help lower the body’s cholesterol and blood pressure levels and reduce the risk of heart disease. Some highly recommended whole grains to eat are brown rice, rye, barley, quinoa, buckwheat, and oats.

    • Berries

These contain high concentrations of antioxidants and essential nutrients that can protect against inflammation and help manage blood pressure, lowering the risk of heart disease and metabolic syndrome.

  1. Exercise regularly

Living a sedentary lifestyle puts you at risk of a wide variety of health problems, including cardiovascular disease. Thus, you should strive to get around 20 to 30 minutes of exercise every day, even just by walking your dog every afternoon, taking the stairs at work, or running around the block in the morning before you go to work.

Examples of cardio exercise that even beginners can do are:

    • Jumping jacks

This is a high-intensity and high-impact exercise that can burn as much as 100 calories in 10 minutes. It does not require any equipment and can be done at home or in the gym.

    • Jogging in place

This is an exercise that can get your heart rate up and burn about 300 calories in 30 minutes. It also can be done anywhere, without the need for any kind of special equipment.

    • Burpees

This is another high-intensity and high-impact exercise that can get your heart racing and work your whole body. It does not need a lot of space or workout equipment and can burn at least 100 calories in just 10 minutes.

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