Approximately 16.5 million Americans live with coronary heart disease. Also referred to as coronary artery disease, the condition results in the narrowing of the arteries and disrupts circulation. This affects the heart’s oxygen supply, leading to severe complications.
Coronary heart disease is caused by plaque formation (buildup of sticky cholesterol) within the arterial walls. As a result, the arterial walls harden and constrict. So how can you prevent the onset of coronary heart disease?
1. Reduce Cholesterol Levels
Since cholesterol buildup is directly linked to coronary heart disease, the first thing you need to do is lower your cholesterol levels. This means making significant dietary changes and eating foods that are good for your cardiovascular health.
Avoid consuming fatty foods. More specifically, avoid eating foods rich in saturated and trans fats, such as red meat, fried and processed goods, and full-fat dairy. An increased intake of these items can raise your cholesterol levels dangerously, increasing the chances of atherosclerosis, heart attack, and stroke.
On the other hand, enrich your diet with foods rich in healthy fats, such as avocado, oily fish, and nuts. Remember, not all cholesterol is bad for your health, so lower your LDL levels and raise your HDL levels. In some cases, you may be prescribed cholesterol-lowering medication (called statins) for this as well.
2. Exercise Regularly
There’s no downplaying the role of exercise in maintaining optimal cardiovascular health. As you prepare to make changes to your diet, make sure you’re also accounting for physical activity. Regular exercise paired with a healthy diet helps you maintain a healthy weight. This lowers your risk of coronary heart disease and related complications.
Aerobic exercise is the best way to maintain heart health. Most doctors recommend low-impact activities such as walking, working out at the gym, swimming, or participating in another physical activity that encourages your heart to pump more blood.
3. Monitor Your Blood Pressure
Finally, make sure your blood pressure isn’t spiraling out of control. Exercising regularly and eating a heart-healthy diet can help you keep your blood pressure under control, but you may require medication if your blood pressure tends to shoot up or drop frequently.
Another way to maintain blood pressure is by relieving stress. Practicing meditation, deep breathing, stress therapy, or other stress management strategies can help keep your blood pressure under control.
Houston Physicians’ Hospital is a leading specialty hospital specializing in cardiology, orthopedics, neurosurgery, and Joint Pain Treatments near NASA TX. Our Heart and Vascular Center of Excellence is led by some of the top cardiologists in the Houston area, and we provide individualized treatment plans to diagnose and treat coronary heart disease.