Even though you are young, that doesn’t mean you don’t need to take care of your heart health. Precisely by adopting a healthy lifestyle or habits that are good for the heart as early as possible, you can have a healthy heart until you get old. Let’s find out some simple ways you can take care of your heart health at a young age here.
Although strokes, heart attacks, or other heart conditions are more common in people over the age of 60, young people in their 20s also need to be aware of heart disease. In fact, heart disease affects 1 in 10 Americans between the ages of 20 and 39.
Heart disease at a young age can occur due to an unhealthy lifestyle, such as lack of exercise, poor diet, and other unhealthy habits that have been carried out over the years. Therefore, changing your lifestyle to be healthier can be an important investment for your heart health in the long term.
Here’s how to maintain heart health at a young age:
1. Consume Healthy Fats, Not Trans Fats
Although fat is often blamed for weight gain and various health problems, in fact our bodies still need fat intake. We need fat intake, such as saturated fat, unsaturated fat, and polyunsaturated fat (polyunsaturated fat). However, one type of fat we don’t need is trans fat, which is known to increase the lifetime risk of heart disease or stroke.
This is because trans fats can clog arteries by increasing bad cholesterol (LDL) and lowering good cholesterol (HDL). So, by limiting your intake of trans fats, you can keep your blood flowing smoothly throughout your body. Trans fat is a type of fat that is often found in baked goods, snack foods, margarine, and fried fast food.
2. Maintain Good Dental Hygiene
You may be wondering what the relationship between dental hygiene and heart health. In fact, maintaining healthy teeth can also have an impact on the overall health of your body, including your heart. This is because people who have periodontitis (gum disease) are at risk of developing heart disease.
Many studies have shown that bacteria in the mouth that are involved in the development of gum disease can enter the bloodstream and cause an increase in C-reactive protein, which is a marker for inflammation in blood vessels. These changes can ultimately increase the risk of heart disease and stroke.
So, clean your teeth by brushing your teeth every day and using floss to prevent gum disease.
3. Do not smoke and avoid cigarette smoke
If you started smoking as a teenager, maybe this is the time for you to consider quitting smoking. In fact, exposure to cigarette smoke can also endanger health.
Studies show that secondhand smoke or people who are exposed to secondhand smoke at home or at work have a 25-30 percent higher risk of developing heart disease. According to the American Heart Association, exposure to tobacco smoke contributes to an estimated 34,000 deaths from premature heart disease and 7,300 deaths from lung cancer each year.
In addition, people who are nonsmokers but have high blood pressure or high cholesterol have a greater risk of developing heart disease if they are exposed to secondhand smoke. This is because the chemicals in cigarette smoke can contribute to the development of plaque buildup in the arteries.
4. Don’t Sit Too Long
In recent years, research has shown that sitting too long at one time is bad for your health, no matter how hard you exercise. This is certainly bad news for office workers who have to sit all day.
Based on the combined results of several observational studies involving nearly 800,000 people, the researchers found that those who sat the most had an increased risk of cardiovascular disease by 147 percent and a 90 percent increase in mortality from the disease. In addition, sitting too long (especially when traveling) can also increase the risk of deep vein thrombosis (blood clots).
So, the researchers suggest trying to move as much as possible. For example, by parking farther from the office, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, and remembering to exercise regularly.
5. Enough Sleep
Sleep is an important part of maintaining a healthy heart. If you don’t get enough sleep, you may be at a higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease, regardless of your age. A study examining 3,000 adults over the age of 45 found that those who slept less than six hours each day had twice the risk of having a stroke or heart attack, compared to people who slept six to eight hours each night. Researchers believe that sleeping too little can cause disruption to underlying health conditions and biological processes, including blood pressure and inflammation.