What happens when the heart stops? The circulation of blood seizes immediately and if this vital organ is not revived on time, the body also stops. This is not a thought that pops up in our minds every day. In fact, between paying bills and trying to keep up with life itself, we do not often remember that the heart pulls the plug on the being.
The World Health Organization (WHO) in 2016 revealed that in Nigeria, non-communicable diseases were estimated to account for 29% of all deaths, of which Cardiovascular Diseases (CVDs) contributed 11%.. CVDs which have been found to be on the increase over the past 20 years in Nigeria include hypertension, heart failure, and stroke. (Samuel Ibiajulu and Chuka Timothy, 2020)
The relative smallness of the heart and its concealment from the outside does not mean it shouldn’t or can’t be taken care of. There are routines that can help you take care of your heart.
1. Consistent Exercise
Exercise is a mobile activity that does more than keeping you fit. Exercise stimulates the muscles of your heart to be more efficient in pumping blood to the other parts of your body. Activities such as walking, jogging, matching and stretching allows the heart to push out more blood with each beat thereby controlling your blood pressure.
2. Get more Water In
Water makes up 60% of the body. The brain and the heart are composed of 73% water. This implies that hydration is essential for survival. Dehydration strains the heart, thereby reducing the amount of blood circulation through your body. When this happens, your heart beats faster than normal, causing you to experience palpitations.
It is therefore important to drink lots of water, precisely 3.7 litres a day for men and 2.7 litres for women.
3. Keep a Watch on your Weight
A large body size puts your heart in a position in which it needs to pump harder to supply blood to all your cells. This is the initiator of high blood pressure. You can check if you’re overweight using the Body Mass Index (BMI) Tool and if you are, a healthy diet and exercise regimen can help.
4. Keep a Distance from Alcohol
The cardiovascular system is basically made up of the heart and blood vessels. When alcohol is introduced into the blood stream, it causes a temporary increase in heart rate and blood pressure. Drinking above the recommended amount in the long run can lead to tachycardia (a condition in which the heart rate is more than 100 beats per minute), weakening of the heart muscles and irregular heartbeat.
If already addicted to alcohol or you’re not sure of the limit your body can take, you can speak to a healthcare professional who can help you on your journey to regulating your intake.
5. Watch Out for Stress
Stress can originate from work, depression, grief, financial strain and pretty much any aspect of our lives. Managing Stress is fundamental to maintaining a healthy heart. Why?
The cortisol level of the body becomes high due to long-term stress. This in turn leads to increase in triglycerides (a type of fat found in the blood), blood sugar and blood pressure. There is also a build up of plaque in the arteries as a result of stress.
6. Watch Your Sodium Intake
Sodium alginate, sodium sulphite, sodium hydroxide and all forms of household salts are a risk when it comes to the heart.
Excess intake of salt leads to increase in blood pressure. It is therefore important to watch the amount of salt you take in daily.
7. Keep an Annual Appointment with your Physician
It is important to check your blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose level annually and discuss the results with your doctor. Following the medications if prescribed will also help in protecting your heart.
Get in touch with an expert today to talk about your heart and how you can take good care of it.
In a nutshell, taking proper care of the heart is not an option. It is a must because as human beings, our heart signifies life, and a healthy one, a healthy life.
September 29th marks the World Heart Day. A day in which the world recognizes and celebrates the heart as a vital organ of the body. As we all join the Cardiovascular Disease community to create awareness on the fight against heart diseases, this is a good time to pay rapt attention to the total well-being of our power-house (the heart)!
Take charge of your heart health today!
Medical Disclaimer: KompleteCare™ aims to improve the quality of life for everyone with fact-based content about the nature of diseases, preventive care, behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.
Samuel Ibiajulu and Chuka Timothy. (2020). Cardiovascular diseases in Nigeria: What has happened in the past 20 years? Retrieved from Nigerian Journal Of Cardiology.