The Importance of Heart Health07/19/2022
Heart conditions lead to a number of serious health complications, which is why it is so important to focus on your heart health. Improving heart health can be done with just a few tips and tricks. Read on to learn more about the importance of heart health, causes of bad heart health and ways to improve it.
Your heart is one of the most essential organs in your body, beating around 100,000 times and pumping up to 2,000 gallons of blood in a single day. Your blood helps transport oxygen, nutrients and other important compounds throughout the body. Without a properly functioning heart, major health problems and even death can ensue. That’s why it’s vital to protect and improve your heart health.
The effects of poor heart health include an increased risk of heart disease, heart attacks and strokes. However, that doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do to protect your heart health. The risk of heart disease varies on an individual basis. By understanding your risk factors, following a healthy lifestyle and keeping track of your overall health, you’ll improve your chances of having an optimally functioning heart for as long as you live.
Continue reading to learn more about the importance of heart health.
Causes of poor heart health
One major problem affecting the heart and blood flow throughout the body is atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis develops when cholesterol plaque, or fatty deposits, attach to the walls of the body's arteries. Plaque can block the flow of blood and cause clogged arteries.
Over time, plaque can cause damage to the walls of the blood vessels, leading to the narrowing and hardening of the blood vessels. As a result, the heart has to work harder to pump blood throughout the body, leading to increased stress on the heart and blood vessels.
In severe cases, plaques can entirely block blood flow to the heart, leading to a heart attack. In other instances, plaques can rupture and cause blood clots to travel to other parts of the body. A stroke can occur if a blood clot blocks the blood flow to the brain.
Heart disease, or coronary heart disease, encompasses the problems that can affect the heart, including atherosclerosis. Almost half of Americans (47%) are affected by at least one of three risk factors for heart disease. These risk factors are high blood pressure, cholesterol and smoking.
Ways to improve heart health
Although some risk factors of heart disease can’t be prevented, such as increasing age, male gender and a family history of heart disease, there are several risk factors you can control.
Cigarette smoke contains tobacco, nicotine, and other chemicals that can damage the blood vessels and heart. Smoking can also increase blood pressure and decrease the amount of oxygen transported in the body. Smoking is a significant risk factor for heart disease.
Know your cholesterol and blood pressure levels
High cholesterol and high blood pressure are other major risk factors for heart disease. Knowing your cholesterol and blood pressure levels can help determine whether you need appropriate treatment. Around two out of three adults with high cholesterol and almost half of adults with high blood pressure are not being properly treated. Getting these levels under control may help curb your risk for heart disease.
A lack of exercise is linked to poor health and obesity. Being overweight or obese is associated with high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes, all risk factors for heart disease. Making time for aerobic exercise most days of the week is recommended to help improve circulation and protect heart health.
Watch your diet
Eating a heart-healthy diet can help improve your overall health. Add more fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats, such as chicken and fish, to your diet. Try to avoid processed foods and too much sugar or salt. You should also try to avoid drinking too much alcohol. Instead, limit your alcohol intake to no more than one drink per day for women and no more than two drinks per day for men.
Inside Rx is here to help
You may be prescribed medications if you have certain risk factors for heart disease, such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure. Prescription medications are an effective way to treat heart disease and prevent complications. If you’re uninsured or underinsured, several options are available to help you save on your medications.
Inside Rx provides a free prescription discount card to help you save up to 80% on your brand and generic medications. The free Inside Rx savings card can be used at over 60,000 pharmacies across the United States and Puerto Rico. Search your medication and compare prices at pharmacies near you. Then, simply download, print, text or email the card to yourself and show it at the pharmacy to save!
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