Heart disease: Doctor explains how to reduce risk in 2021
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Heart and circulatory diseases are among the biggest causes of death in the UK. They are often caused by a build-up of fatty substances in the blood vessels and hardening of the arteries, preventing blood flow to the heart. Although in some cases it can be caused by a family history of heart disease, it is also heavily influenced by lifestyle factors.
These include smoking, being overweight and eating an unhealthy diet.
Not exercising enough is also a major risk factor for heart disease.
While the more exercise you can undertake, the better, there is a specific amount shown to lower your chances of developing the disease.
Superintendent pharmacist at Medicine Direct, Hussain Abdeh, spoke with Express.co.uk to explain more.
He recommended 30 minutes of aerobic exercise – also known as cardio – a day. Cardio can include low-impact exercise such as walking.
“Controlling blood pressure is a major factor in reducing your risk of heart disease,” he said.
“Having high blood pressure significantly increases your risk of heart disease, as does high cholesterol levels.
“Therefore, you should ensure you are getting at least 30 minutes of exercise each day.
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“This combined with eating a balanced diet, will help to keep your body at a healthy weight and keep your blood pressure and cholesterol levels down.
“Avoiding obesity will play a big part in lowering the risk of heart disease, too.
“Aerobic exercise, such as walking, swimming and running, helps to work more muscles in your body, giving you a good workout.
“This helps to keep your heart beating healthily by making it work harder for a good reason. This plays a part in keeping it beating efficiently.”
What does research say?
Mr Abdeh commented: “Studies have shown that doing just 30 minutes of exercise five days a week could prevent one in 12 deaths caused by cardiovascular disease. It could also cut one in 20 cases of cardiovascular disease.”
This was backed by a study published in the British Medical Journal in 2017.
Based on analysis of more than 130,000 participants aged between 30 and 70 it said: “Being physically active for 150 minutes a week could prevent one in 12 deaths globally and one in 20 cases of cardiovascular disease (CVD), a large study has found.
“Being even more active was associated with additional benefits.”
Separate research, published in the Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity journal in 2019, found that any amount of exercise was better than none when it comes to cardiovascular disease risk.
“The general exercise intensity for humans recommended by the American Heart Association to prevent cardiovascular disease is moderate exercise of 30 minutes, 5 times a week,” it said. “However, even the easiest activity is better than nothing.
“What is more, owing to the different physical fitness of individuals, a standard exercise training cannot provide the exact treatment for everyone.
“So personalization of exercise will be an irresistible trend and bring more beneficial effects with less inefficient physical activities.”
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