Having a healthy heart is a necessity to living a healthy life. Thankfully, there are a few smart and clever ways to prevent minor as well as serious heart problems, which can lead to a fatal consequence, if not checked in time.
Non-pharmaceutical interventions can be practiced to keep an outbreak at bay. Similarly, for heart failure, pharmacological treatment goes hand in hand with the non-pharmaceutical approach. The non-drug treatment for heart failure management includes:
- Diet – it must be adequately nutritional and obese patients must reduce their weight.
- Compliance – care must be taken while giving advice on the disease, its treatment, and self-help strategies.
- Salt – patients must avoid foods with high salt content and also stop adding extra salt to food.
- Alcohol consumption – alcohol must be consumed in moderation and for patients of alcohol-related cardiomyopathy it must be completely abstained from.
- Fluid – patients with severe episodes of congestive heart failure and those who are overloaded must restrict their intake of fluid.
- Smoking – must be completely avoided.
- Vaccinations – the patients must get pneumococcal and influenza vaccinations.
- Exercise – patients must be encouraged to exercise regularly.
These non-pharmaceutical steps can help deal with the recurrence of heart ailments.
The Mediterranean diet has been shown to lower the risk of people suffering from heart attacks according to research that has been conducted. The heart-friendly diet reduces the LDL cholesterol levels in the body and lowers the risk of mortality due to cardiovascular reasons. The key components of the diet are:
- The diet primarily consisting of plant-based sources of food, such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, and a variety of nuts.
- Substituting butter with canola oil and olive oil, which are healthy sources of fat.
- Replacing salt with spices and herbs to flavor the food.
- Restricting consumption of red meat to only a few times a month.
- Including poultry and fish a minimum of two times in a week.
- Consuming red wine in moderate quantities.
- Having meals in the company of family and friends.
- Exercising regularly and consistently.
The above pointers are recommended by doctors for lowering the odds of cardiac disorders and cancer in women.
Daily consumption of a baby aspirin has been found to lower the chances of a heart attack. This is because aspirin interferes with the clotting mechanism of blood, thereby reducing the chances of blockage of arteries due to clumping platelets. This therapy, however, is not for everyone. It is recommended only for those
- Who have had a stroke or heart attack already
- Who have not had an attack but have a stent placed in their coronary artery, or had a coronary bypass surgery done, or those who experience heart ache due to angina
- Who are at a high risk of having a heart attack
- Who have diabetes and either smoke or have high blood pressure and are over 50 years of age (for men) and over 60 (for women)
Aspirin therapy might be beneficial for those who fit the above description, but they must start the therapy only upon recommendation of their physician.
Folic acid for the heart
As per studies, folic acid has been found to lower the risk of stroke and heart disease by about 20%. Folic acid has been found to lower the levels of homocysteine, an amino acid, in the blood. A high level of homocysteine is believed to cause blood clots and increase the chance of heart failure. Thus, folic acid reduces homocysteine and subsequently the chance of heart diseases.
It has been found that walking for 20 to 40 minutes a day reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases by approximately 18 to 20 percent.
Omega acids from flaxseed
Flaxseeds, apart from being a rich source of omega 3, are loaded with antioxidants or lignans that have been shown to lower cholesterol levels. Lower cholesterol can further reduce the chances of heart ailments.