You reap what you sow; this remains true for heart health as well. Coronary artery disease usually manifests at an age of 50s and 60s or later—most of the time this is due to years of negligence towards heart health.
To have a healthy heart in your 50s, you should start putting efforts in your 20s only .
Coronary artery disease is a result of numerous risk factors present for several years and decades. These risk factors include diabetes, hypertension, history of smoking, dyslipidemia, obesity, lack of physical exercise, environmental pollution, stress, increasing age and family history of heart disease.
While most of these risk factors are preventable, years of exposure to these risk factors leads to gradual build up of cholesterol plaques in the coronary artery.
The severity can get to a level where chest pain starts initially during exertion and subsequently even at rest.
In some cases, the plaque may burst, and the artery gets blocked suddenly due to development of clot on the denuded plaque leading to heart attack.
That’s precisely why you need to monitor a few lifestyle habits in your 20s.
Refrain from smoking from the very beginning
Smoking is a major risk factor and has the strongest association with coronary artery disease. It increases the risk of coronary artery disease by two to four times compared to age matched nonsmokers.
Cessation of smoking has shown to decrease the risk of coronary artery disease.
C’mon girl, it’s never too late to get benefits from quitting smoking. One year after quitting smoking, the risk of heart disease comes down by 50%. Five years after quitting smoking, the risk of heart disease is equal to that of non-smokers.
Ditch the junk right away and switch to exercise mode
Regular physical exercise and eating healthy takes care of several cardiac risk factors like obesity, dyslipidemia, hypertension and diabetes.
The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes per week of moderate intensity aerobic exercise or 75 minutes per week of vigorous aerobic exercise or a combination of both.
Preferably the exercise program should spread out evenly throughout the week.
One should also practice moderate to vigorous muscle strengthening or resistance exercise at least two days a week.
Eating healthy involves right proportion of carbohydrates, protein, fat, vitamins and minerals. A healthy eating plan emphasises on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products.
It also includes lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs and nuts. Healthy food is low on saturated fats, trans-fats, cholesterol, salt and added sugars.
Despite regular physical exercise and healthy dietary practice, if you develop hypertension, diabetes or dyslipidemia due to genetic factors, then the condition should be controlled by proper medication.