Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death and disability in the Western world.

This figure is alarming, but there are essential measures we can take to prevent such diseases. Modifiable risk factors related to our environment and personal habits can be changed for the better.

We explore this topic with a cardiovascular specialist who provides valuable insights.

Cardiovascular Disease: Risk Factors

The main risk factors for cardiovascular disease include:

  • Age
  • Sex
  • Genetic predisposition
  • Weight and waist circumference
  • Diet
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Blood pressure
  • Smoking
  • Certain conditions, such as high cholesterol or diabetes

Modifiable risk factors have a significant impact on arterial health, including:

  • Weight 
  • Waist circumference
  • Diet
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Smoking
  • Blood pressure

For instance, smoking significantly increases cardiovascular risk among individuals aged 40 to 50. After age 50, hypertension becomes a risk factor that should not be underestimated. 

Both smoking and hypertension can be addressed through lifestyle modifications, dietary changes, and, if necessary, specific medications

Regular checkups are crucial as hypertension may not present noticeable symptoms, and individuals often remain unaware of their condition.

Controlling Blood Pressure

To maintain healthy blood pressure, it is crucial to:

  • Reduce salt consumption by decreasing added salt and avoiding foods naturally high in salt or prepared with added salt. Examples include cured meats, sausages, bouillon cubes, certain condiments, beverages, jellies, and sweets.
  • Pay attention to the salt content in bread, breadsticks, crackers, and snacks, as they can contribute significant amounts of salt to the diet.

Nutrition Tips for a Healthy Heart

Individuals with cardiovascular disease should consult a nutrition specialist to determine an appropriate dietary regimen for their specific situation. In general, reducing cardiovascular risk involves:

  • Increasing fish consumption
  • Preferring vegetable fats over animal fats
  • Limiting consumption of carbonated beverages and alcohol
  • Consuming at least 4-5 servings of fruits and vegetables daily

Heart and Physical Activity

Regular physical activity is crucial for maintaining heart health. It is essential to consider one’s fitness level and limitations and gradually increase frequency and duration over time.

It is worth emphasizing that not everyone should approach physical activity in the same way. Individuals who have experienced cardiovascular problems should exercise more cautiously and consult their trusted specialist for guidance.