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Heart-to-Heart About Heart Health

Last Updated on: July 26, 2021

Reviewed By: Jessica Herzog, MD, FAAP, ABioM

two heart shaped rocks leaning on each other on a tablecloth

The CDC reported that one in every four deaths is caused by cardiovascular disease. There are multiple forms of heart disease and also many ways to prevent heart disease. In this article, we will discuss the different forms of heart disease and how to maintain a healthy heart.

February is not only the month for love and cheesy Valentines day cards; it is also National Heart Health Awareness month. In honor of this month-long national holiday, we wanted to have a heart-to-heart about the seriousness of heart disease and the steps you can take to have a healthier heart.

WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT FORMS OF HEART DISEASE?

There are two major forms of heart disease: coronary artery disease and heart attack.(1)

CORONARY ARTERY DISEASE

Coronary heart disease is the number one form of heart disease. It killed 365,914 people in 2017. (2) Coronary arteries are blood vessels that carry blood to your heart. Coronary artery disease occurs when there is a narrowing or blockage of the coronary arteries. Coronary artery disease is often caused by a buildup of cholesterol and plaques (fatty deposits). This buildup can block or damage the arteries, which can limit or even stop blood flow to the heart. Symptoms of coronary artery disease (3):

  • Angina (chest discomfort, heaviness, tightness, pressure, aching, burning, numbness, fullness, or squeezing)
  • Shortness of breath
  • Heart palpitations
  • Increased heartbeat
  • Dizziness
  • Extreme weakness
  • Sweating

HEART ATTACK

The medical term for a heart attack is “myocardial infarction.” Myocardial infarctions occur when “a part of the heart muscle doesn’t get enough blood.” The majority of heart attacks are caused by coronary artery disease, but some can be caused by severe or sudden spasms of the coronary artery. The CDC lists the following symptoms of a heart attack: (4)

  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Feeling weak or faintish
  • Pain or discomfort in the jaw, neck, or back
  • Pain or discomfort in one or both arms
  • Shortness of breath

older woman at home feeling her heart beat

RISK FACTORS FOR HEART DISEASE

The key risk factors for heart disease include (5)(6):

  • Age: older individuals are more at risk for heart disease.
  • Family history: if your parents or grandparents have a history of heart disease, you are at higher risk.
  • Lifestyle: your lifestyle includes how active you are, your diet, how much water you drink, and even how much stress you are under from work and other activities.
  • High blood pressure: occurs when the pressure of the blood in your arteries is too high.
  • High cholesterol: occurs when there is a buildup of cholesterol from the foods we eat in the arteries of the heart.
  • Smoking: causes a rise in fat in your blood and a decrease in “good” cholesterol, thus increasing your chance for clots and much more.
  • Obesity: can cause higher levels of “bad” cholesterol and lower levels of “good” cholesterol in the body. It can also increase triglyceride (a type of fat in your blood).

woman sitting on the floor eating a salad

HOW CAN I MAINTAIN A HEALTHY HEART?

EAT HEALTHIER

Diets that are high in sodium (salt), saturated fats, trans fats, and cholesterol are going to increase your risk for heart disease. Stay away from red meat and high-fat dairy products. Try to incorporate more fruits and vegetables, and anything that is high in fiber. Fish, specifically oily fish, are great for heart health, and it’s recommended that you should eat one serving twice per week. (7)

INCREASE PHYSICAL ACTIVITY

The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends that adults get 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity. Aerobic exercises include walking, cycling, swimming, and aerobic dance like Zumba and HIGH fitness. The AHA also recommends that adults “add moderate- to high-intensity muscle-strengthening activity (such as resistance or weights) on at least 2 days per week.” (8) Some muscle-strengthening activities you could incorporate are lifting weights, working with resistance bands, climbing stairs, and bodyweight exercises.

MAINTAIN YOUR STRESS

Although there is not enough research to determine exactly how stress affects your heart health, stress may affect behaviors and factors that increase heart disease. For instance, stress eating could lead to overeating, which could lead to increased cholesterol levels. Some people may turn to alcohol or smoking, which is also bad for heart health, to manage their stress levels. The AHA suggests the following ways to manage stress: “Exercising, maintaining a positive attitude, not smoking, not drinking too much coffee, enjoying a healthy diet, and maintaining a healthy weight.” (9)

DRINK HYDROGEN WATER

Hydrogen water is water with molecular hydrogen infused into it. There are over 900 studies exploring the benefits of hydrogen on the body, including multiple relating to the benefits of hydrogen for improved heart health. In a pilot study done on men and women above the age of 65, preliminary results showed that men and women who increased molecular hydrogen intake for 20 minutes per day for four weeks showed a cumulative drop in the American Heart Association’s cardiovascular risk scores. The preliminary results also showed increased cardiorespiratory fitness and handgrip strength. Along with the before-mentioned positive results, inhaled hydrogen tended to reduce total serum cholesterol and fasting glycemia. Increased hydrogen consumption, whether through inhalation or drinking, may help to reduce your risk of heart disease.(10) Synergy Science™ is the world leader in hydrogen water machines. Our Echo Water™ Machines create great-tasting, filtered hydrogen water in minutes.

older man taking a picture of an older woman sitting on a bench in the park

GOOD CHAT!

Our heart is a vital organ, and as such, we need to take care of it. Be mindful of what you are eating, incorporate more exercise into your daily life, reduce your stress levels, and increase your molecular hydrogen intake. Making these simple changes may just help reduce your chances of heart disease.

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