Coronary artery disease (CAD) is the leading cause of death in The United States. It affects more than 13 million Americans each year, with victims in all racial and ethnic groups and both genders. CAD occurs when the arteries of the heart are damaged, either due to inflammation or plaque build-up and hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis). As a result, the heart does not receive adequate nutrients. Plaques cause the arterial walls to narrow, which decreases blood-flow to the heart. It can lead to chest pain, shortness of breath and even heart attack.

Many factors are to blame for this condition. Some are genetic, but many are related to lifestyle. If heart disease runs in your family, you may be genetically predisposed to this condition. Other risk factors include obesity, sedentary lifestyle, type-2 diabetes, tobacco use, high cholesterol and high blood pressure.

Fortunately there are steps you can take to minimize your risk for CAD and keep your heart healthy:

 

Quit Smoking

This is one of the best things you can do to protect your heart health. Smoking is the cause of many negative health consequences. It causes hardening of the arteries, reducing blood-flow. Smoking also reduces the amount of oxygen red blood cells can carry, and causes red blood cells to clump together which can lead to blockages. Additionally smoking can cause irregular heartbeats. Not to mention, quitting reduces your risk of lung cancer and emphysema.

 

Exercise

Physical activity can benefit your heart in so many ways. First, it can help you to combat obesity and maintain a healthy weight. It also lowers blood pressure and resting heart rate and can improve cholesterol levels. Even 20-30 minutes of movement that increases your heart rate, three or four times per week can reduce your risk for CAD. Walking is a great place to start, or swimming if you have joint issues. Make sure to start with a warm-up of small movements within the joints, and cool down with a few static stretches (hold a stretch for 10-30 seconds). Consult with your physician before you begin any exercise program.

 

Eat Heart-Healthy Foods

There are lots of foods that are beneficial for your heart and taste delicious. Fill your plate with fresh organic vegetables, whole grains like quinoa, and lean meats like turkey and chicken. Eat fats in moderation, and from heart-healthy sources rich in unsaturated fat and omega-3s, like avocado, nuts, and salmon. Try to incorporate these into your diet while avoiding saturated fats found in animal products and trans fat found in processed foods like cookies and cakes, and deep fryers in fast food chains.

 

With a few simple lifestyle choices, you can maintain a healthy heart, and keep your cardiovascular system functioning smoothly.  Contact USA Vein Clinics today with any questions and schedule a consultation today!