Tips to taking care of your heart in your 20s

Unlike what you may think, this is not a post to dedicate to healing your heartbreaks or getting over your exes. It is literally and physically taking care of your most important organ that I would say that dictates your body. The idea of it being working non-stop without a break to pump blood makes me ponder what did I deserve to have an overworking organ only for me to be eating up all the fats and cholesterol that makes the heart work even harder to pass through the clogged up arteries to do its job. 

My nurse brother constantly lamented that the age group of individual experience the first heart attack is getting lowered as decades pass. It used to be incredibly rare to see anyone under age 40 come in with a heart attack — and some of these people are now in their 20s and early 30s,” said Ron Blankstein, MD, a preventive cardiologist and associate professor at Harvard Medical School. Also, despite being 10 years younger on average than those having heart attacks in their 40s, very young patients have the same rate of adverse outcomes, including dying from another heart attack, stroke or any other reason.

Cardiovascular disease, associated with a build-up of fatty deposits in the arteries and an increased risk of blood clots, was the leading cause of death for women here last year in Singapore, according to a check of the Registry of Births and Deaths. With that in mind, here are 5 tips to taking care of your heart!

1. MAINTAINING HEALTHY RELATIONSHIP WITH FOOD

Generally eating unhealthy food is the main key in developing high blood pressure, obesity, high cholesterol, coronary disease, and Type II diabetes—all major risk factors for heart disease. At the same time, embracing being mindful of portion sizes can also lower your risk of heart disease.

Consume fruits and veggies, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats will help in the long run. Steer clear of saturated fats, excess salt, and sugary snacks when you can. Walnut, fish and other Omega-3-rich foods may slash your cholesterol levels and prevent inflammation and blood clots.

Be mindful of what’s on your plate. Making small lifestyle changes around food is shown to decrease your risk of heart disease at all ages. Maintaining a healthy relationship with food in your 20s is one of the first steps to improving your hearts well-being.

2. AVOID SMOKING

Smoking is discouraged as it is one of the risk factors contributing to heart disease. Smoking tobacco can cause blood vessels to thicken and constrict, which increases plaque build up inside them. Even nonsmokers exposed to secondhand smoke are 20-30% percent more prone to having a stroke.

3. BE PHYSICALLY ACTIVE

By ensuring at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise a week can lower blood pressure and bad cholesterol to a healthy level.If you are currently inactive, even a few minutes of exercise a day may offer some health benefits.

4. REDUCE STRESS LEVEL

Some people cope with stress in unhealthy ways – such as overeating, drinking and smoking – giving rise to cardiovascular disease. 

Stress in women can also result in Takotsubo cardiomyopathy, which changes the shape of the heart muscle, resulting in heart rhythm problems, shock or even death.

5. GOOD QUALITY SLEEP

People who do not get enough sleep have a higher risk of obesity, high blood pressure, heart attack, diabetes and depression. If you are clocking in the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep a night but are still tired throughout the day, ask your doctor if you need to be evaluated for obstructive sleep apnea.

Treatments for sleep apnea may include losing weight if you are overweight or using a continuous airway pressure device that keeps your airway open during sleep.

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