The heart is the hardest working muscle in the human body, yet there are so many different things that can go wrong with how this muscle functions. This is especially troubling in the U.S., where heart disease is the top cause of death in both men and women. In fact, someone in the U.S. dies from cardiovascular disease every 36 seconds.
To take the best care of your heart, here is what you should know about common heart conditions and natural and preventative measures to keep in mind.
Common Issues with the Heart
The most common type of heart disease is coronary artery disease, which occurs when cholesterol builds up plaque in the arteries. Many people don’t even know they have coronary artery disease because there are no symptoms at first. Over time though, the symptoms that develop include shortness of breath, fatigue, and chest pain. The plaque in the arteries can actually rupture, form a blood clot, and clog up an artery. When this happens, oxygen can’t reach the heart and a heart attack can occur.
Congestive heart failure is also very common among both men and women when the heart becomes stiff, weak, and doesn’t pump enough blood to support the body. The heart can also pump at too high of a pressure and cause fluid to back up in the lungs, abdomen, and ankles.
A heart arrhythmia occurs when the heart beats at a non-optimal pace or is irregular. There are several different types of valvular heart disease, and aortic aneurysms occur when the aorta becomes enlarged and can burst. Some babies are born with heart defects at birth, and some types of infections can affect the heart, such as tuberculosis and some viruses.
Risk Factors for Heart Disease
A person’s risk of heart disease varies based on their gender, race, and ethnicity. For nearly all races and ethnic groups, heart disease is more common in men than women. And the highest percentage of deaths due to heart disease is in Black and White men. Two of the biggest risk factors of heart disease are high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Other conditions and lifestyle choices that put people’s hearts at risk include unhealthy diets, physical inactivity, excessive alcohol use, obesity, and diabetes.
A Naturally Healthy Heart
The information available about heart health can be overwhelming and sometimes contradictory too. But aside from genetic heart conditions that cannot be avoided, the important thing to remember is that heart health is often dependent up on a person’s lifestyle.
One of the best things you can do for your heart’s health is to get moving more with exercise to help you control your weight and lose excess body fat. Limiting high-cholesterol foods, stopping smoking, and reducing stress can also help you reduce your heart disease risks.
There are certain natural supplements that you can take to promote heart health, including a comprehensive multi-vitamin, magnesium, and omega-3 fatty acids. The latter of these is especially important if you don’t consume fish on a regular basis through your diet.
Other natural approaches to heart health include taking Coenzyme Q10 supplements, drinking green tea, eating pomegranate, and eating more fiber-rich foods. If you make just one health commitment this year, commit to your heart’s health because it affects every other part of the body and also how you feel on a day-to-day basis!