What Is Cardiovascular risk?
Cardiovascular risk factors are the habits and conditions that increase your risk of coronary heart disease, heart failure, heart attack, hypertensive heart disease, cardiomyopathy, congenital heart disease, carditis, aortic aneurysms, thromboembolic disease, rheumatic heart disease, heart arrhythmia, valvular heart disease, peripheral artery disease and venous thrombosis. These factors also increase the chances of the existing conditions of the cardiovascular heart disease (CHD) to worsen.
CHD is also known coronary artery disease. This is a condition where the inner walls of the coronary arteries (the arteries that supply the heart with oxygen-rich blood) are coated with a build-up of plaque, which is a waxy substance. The plaque causes the narrowing of the arteries and reduces the flow of blood to the heart.
This reduced blood flow causes chest pain, especially if you are active and ultimately, an area coated with plaque can rupture, which causes a blood clot to be formed on the plaque’s surface. If the blood clot becomes very big, it can block the blood flow to the part of the heart which is supplied by the particular artery. And, the blocked blood flow causes a heart attack.
What Are The Symptoms Of Cardiovascular risk?
While cardiovascular risk by itself does not have any symptoms, the symptoms are usually seen in the case you suffer from heart attack or stroke. And, some of the symptoms and signs of a heart attack and stroke are:
The symptoms of heart attack are:
- A pressure that is very uncomfortable, squeezing or pain in the centre of the chest that occurs for a minute or more, disappears and then comes back.
- Discomfort or pain in one of the arms or both of them, in the jaw, back, stomach or neck.
- Shortness of breath, which may or may not be accompanied by discomfort in the chest.
- Other symptoms like nausea, feeling lightheaded, breaking out into a cold sweat, etc.
The symptoms of stroke are:
- Sudden trouble in speaking and understanding things, confusion.
- Sudden weakness or numbness in the face, arm or leg, especially occurring on one side of the body.
- Problem with vision in one or both the eyes.
- An unexpected and severe headache, without any cause.
- Sudden dizziness, loss of coordination or balance or trouble in walking.
What Are The Causes Of Cardiovascular risk?
Causes of cardiovascular risk
Some of the causes of cardiovascular risk are:
- High blood pressure
- High blood cholesterol or LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels
- Being overweight and obesity
- Diabetes and prediabetes
- Being post-menopausal
- No physical activity
- Unhealthy diet
- Stress and anxiety
Some factors that cause a cardiovascular risk that cannot be controlled are:
- Family history of cardiovascular disease
What Are The Things One Should Do To Manage Cardiovascular risk?
Follow a regular exercise routine. Physical activity helps to prevent many chronic health problems including reducing cardiovascular risk as it not only regulates your weight but also helps to improve the use of insulin by your body. Being active also helps to improve blood lipid levels, blood glucose levels, blood pressure, blood vessel health and also reduces inflammation all the factors that cause CHD.
Follow a healthy diet, as this is essential to prevent cardiovascular disease. Diet is the main factor that you can change that will influence the other factors of cardiovascular risk.
Keep your cholesterol levels in control by following a healthy diet and exercise and medication (if required).
Keep your blood pressure and diabetes under control with the help of a healthy diet, exercise and medication.
What Are The Things One Should Avoid To Manage Cardiovascular risk?
- Avoid smoking or chewing tobacco as they increase cardiovascular risk. Passive smoking also increases cardiovascular risk.
- Avoid sedentary lifestyle.
What Are The Best Foods For Cardiovascular risk?
- Consume foods that are rich in unsaturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats that contain omega-3 fatty acids like olive oil, avocados, nuts, vegetables, seeds and fish as these are good for heart health.
- Follow a diet that is high in vegetables and fruits as they help to protect the heart against heart disease, heart attack and stroke.
- Whole grains are very healthy as they contain B-vitamins, folic acid and fibre that protects against heart disease. Eat whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, amaranth, millets, etc.
What Are The Worst Foods For Cardiovascular risk?
- Avoid a diet that is high in saturated fats and trans fats like cheese, animal products, French fries, chips, bacon, pasties, etc. as these increase the cholesterol levels and also the cardiovascular risk.
- Avoid a diet that is high in sodium as increases the risk of hypertension (high blood pressure) that increases cardiovascular risk.
- Avoid processed and refined grains and products like white rice, white bread and white pasta as they increase the risk of heart disease.
- Avoid drinking alcohol as it damages the heart muscles and increases cardiovascular risk leading to cardiac arrhythmia and stroke.
- Avoid sugary foods and beverages like parties, doughnuts, cakes, fizzy drinks, sports drinks, colas, etc. as these increases cardiovascular risk.
What Are The Medicines For Cardiovascular risk?
What Are The Tips To Manage Cardiovascular risk?
- You must take up risk assessments to determine your risk of developing a heart disease, stroke and heart attack in the future. And, if you are at a higher risk for heart disease, then you must begin treatment to prevent the same.
- Stress, anger and anxiety are major causes that increase cardiovascular risk. Adopting calming techniques like meditation, breathing exercises, yoga, tai chi, massage, etc. can help you relax and reduce the risk of heart disease.
- It is recommended that after the age of 65, women must take 81mg of aspirin daily to reduce cardiovascular risk. However, it is a good idea to check with your doctor before taking it.