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Lower your risks on heart- and vascular diseases today to have a healthier tomorrow!

Updated on February 18, 2014

Main causes

Heart- and vascular diseases do not necessarily occur at an older age (although the chances are higher), but they can very well occur to younger people aswell. The cause for the increase in risks is augmented through:

  • Lack of exercise
  • Smoking
  • High cholesterol level
  • Eating unhealthy foods

As the number of people dying on heart- and vascular diseases have become much higher in the past few years it is of importance that you keep a close eye on your health and that of your children aswell.

Exercising!

What is actually meant with exercise when we speak about a "lack of exercise"? In general exercise can be any type of movement where we use our arms and legs, but the question is " is it enough"?

Sufficient exercise
The principle of sufficient exercise is actively moving (where your heart rate would increase) and for a minimum of 30 minutes per day. Typical household chores and the occasional bike ride to the supermarket does not count as sufficient exercise unless you live at least 30 minutes away from the supermarket. Should you, however, daily ride your bike to work and the distance is about 4-5 kilometer, then you will get the 30 minutes per day. It is also very healthy to take a walk, especially after a meal it is good to take a walk to help digestion a bit. Ofcourse, and this goes without saying, going to the gym (and do exercise) helps a lot!

The result of sufficient exercise
Regular exercise not only helps to to control your body weight and figure, but it also reduces blood pressure, your blood sugar level and your body will produce good cholesterol instead of bad cholesterol (more on that later). Congratulations, you are one step further to decreasing the chance of getting heart- and vascular diseases!

(un)Healthy foods

(un)Healthy food
What you eat on a daily basis does have a great influence on your health and keeping your vains and arteries clean.
Some food products may claim that they are healthy, but this does not necessarily have to be true! If you want to know (at least 80%) sure, check the contents on the product to see what is in it. If the products contain saturated fats and/or chemical products (often start with an E-number), they are not healthy (enough). Also don’t assume that “light” products (for example in drinks) are healthier than the original non-light product. Light products contain less sugar, which is true and is in fact healthier than products that contain lots of sugar, but some of the light products can cause your body to produce more natural sugars of its own (as it is missing certain sugars within a drink, for example) and these natural sugar levels could then be higher than when you drink the original product. A product with less fat or sugar is in principle fine, but you could check the contents to see if it is true. Of course you are allowed to go for that unhealthy snack occasionally, but don’t make it a habit. Foods that you should only eat occasionally are (amongst others): fatty meats (e.g. bacon), cookies, cakes, fatty snacks (hamburgers, fries), etc.

Result
Healthier foods keep your cholesterol level low and certainly the amount of bad cholesterol. Also maintaining a balanced blood sugar level helps!

Smoking

Smoking
As you might have guessed, smoking is risk factor number 1 when it comes to heart- and vascular diseases. As announce in many anti-smoking commercials or posters, smoking can cause lungproblems, cancer and heart- and vascular diseases. Four reasons why not to smoke. Not too mention that it can even cause as much damage to your environment as it does to you. Someone who spends a lot of time in a smokey environment will have almost the same risks of getting the above health problems. Also keep young children away from any smoke as much as you can. At a young age, children are very sensitive and can develop astma or bronchitis. Smoke will then do damage to their health.

Stop smoking
There are many products on the markets and therapy even, to help you get rid of your smoking habit, but it is difficult as it is still an addiction. The most successful stories about smokers who quit smoking were those that quit out of their own motivation, perhaps realizing that they did not like smoking as much, it was more a habit. You can always ask your doctor for help and more importantly your family and friends.

Result
Quitting your smoking habit will be a difficult journey but in the end you will feel better, both physically and mentally. Realize that it will increase your life span and that of the people next to you.

Cholesterol

Another risk factor comes with the cholesterol, not the cholesterol that your body needs, but the cholesterol that is left over.

What is cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a type of fat that your body in fact needs. It is one of the “building blocks” that your body and your hormones need. Without cholesterol, your body cannot function. The problem, however, occurs when you have too much “bad” cholesterol in your body. Cholesterol is both produced by your own body (the liver) and comes from food that contains cholesterol (saturated fats). Your body will absorb any cholesterol it needs for its building blocks, and what is left over is that what makes it risky.

Good and bad cholesterol
The two main parts of cholesterol are LDL and HDL. The LDL transports the cholesterol to the different parts in your body, but along the way the cholesterol parts (that are not absorbed) could stay behind and wander into your arteries and clog them. This makes LDL a bad cholesterol. LDL is the cholesterol which comes from eating saturated fats in food. HDL is a good cholesterol, this part is produced mainly by the liver but also is in non-saturated fats in products. Any leftover HDL (that is not absorbed) will be transported back to your liver and “destroyed” in the intestins and will leave the body with your bathroom breaks (to put it politely).

Have regular checks
There are many clinics/doctors/pharmacies /at home where you can check your cholesterol. The best balanced result (as cholesterol levels tend to go up after eating certain foods and at certain times of the day) is when you take 2 separate tests, leaving a week in between. Is your cholesterol heightened or too high, contact a doctor. For high cholesterol problems you can (and need) to take medication at certain levels.

Result
Even though a high cholesterol level can be genetic and not avoidable for all, it is certainly worth paying attention too. The problem is that you often do not know (or recognize) about a high cholesterol level when it is already too late and it will cause pain. Most of the symptoms are when people feel pains in their chest or even numbness in their arms and hands.

Cholesterol checking chart

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      Esther 3 years ago from Enschede, The Netherlands

      Thanks! It worries me also that kids nowadays don't play outside but are inside playing videogames or behind a pc or ipad so not getting any exercise. This in combination with too much fast food/snacks and too little fruits and vegetables is just unhealthy..

    • Alphadogg16 profile image

      Kevin W 3 years ago from Texas

      This is a very interesting and informative hub Esthercita79. The obesity now being considered a disease and is basically becoming an epidemic, people need to start taking their health a lot more seriously. Thumbs up on your hub