Cardiovascular disease causes damage to the heart and blood vessels. Plaque buildup in the arteries known as atherosclerosis is the major cause of cardiovascular disease. Awareness, prevention, screening and communication can help manage cardiovascular disease risks.
Recognize and Reduce Risks
The risk of developing cardiovascular disease is elevated with high blood pressure, family history of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, high levels of low density lipoprotein (LDL), low levels of high density lipoprotein (HDL).
Smoking, sedentary lifestyle may also contribute to cardiovascular risks. Men older than 45 and women past age of menopause are at higher risk of developing the disease.
These risk factors can be lowered by maintaining the levels of cholesterol, quitting smoking and regular physical activity.
Early detection is effective to treat cardiovascular disease. Cardiovascular screening is recommended for people older than 55 who have risk factors.
Adopt vascular-friendly habits
The American Heart Association has recommended heart- and blood-vessel-friendly lifestyle tips:
Learn and Communicate
- Eat a diet that's low in saturated and trans fats, cholesterol, sugar and salt.
- Eat lots of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains that are rich in fiber. Have fish at least twice a week, and incorporate nuts, legumes and seeds into your diet. Reduce your meat intake, choose lean meats when you do eat meat, and opt for low-fat or fat-free dairy products.
- Exercise at least 150 minutes per week, choosing moderate to intense activity. Or, if you're able, do 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity like jogging or running every week. Do muscle-strengthening activities at least twice a week.
Consult a cardiologist about the risks for cardiovascular disease, preventive measure, early detection and treatment.
Support from family, friends and social group can help maintain cardiovascular health by helping to stay on track with important lifestyle changes.