Living With A Healthy Heart – Heart Failure, Infarction, Stroke
With a healthy heart, you open the horizon for a life without a heart attack, heart failure, or stroke. The best thing to do is to start right away. Cardiovascular diseases are by far the most common cause of death in Germany. More than 200,000 women and men die as a result of heart attacks, strokes, and heart failure alone. Many – some experts say almost all – of these people could still be alive if they had taken a little precaution – by living with a healthy heart. It’s a lot easier than most people think.
More Than 200,000 Heart Deaths Per Year
Before we get to the precautionary recommendations, a few more depressing figures about the current state of German heart health. 300,000 Germans experience a heart attack every year – around 60,000 women and men do not survive it. 270,000 suffer a stroke – around 100,000 of them die within the first year. And 70 percent of the survivors remain disabled in the long term – many of them are dependent on a nursing home. In addition, around 50,000 Germans die every year as a result of cardiac insufficiency (in almost 600,000 cases). Many cardiovascular diseases are preventable About 90 percent of all heart attacks are preventable, writes Dr. Norbert Smetak, the chairman of the Federal Association of Resident Cardiologists on the website for the German World Heart Day (September 29, 2015). He would like people to take more responsibility for their health and take advantage of the opportunities provided by prevention.
Live With A Healthy Heart
To live with a healthy heart – to some people that sounds a lot like asceticism and exertion. It is relatively easy to reduce the risk of high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, or heart failure. The focus is on exercise, nutrition, the conscious use of luxury foods, and regular medical checks. Movement keeps the heart fit No matter what age and no matter what medical history: Our body is designed so that we can move. The movement clearly activates the body’s self-healing powers. Movement is essential for targeted preventive care – and it even speeds up healing after serious illnesses. While exercise cannot heal a seriously ill heart, it does improve the prospects for longer life. Privatdozent Dr. med. Friedhelm Späh told the German Heart Foundation: “Regular physical activity leads to a considerable decrease in mortality, especially for people over 65.” It also improves the quality of life in many ways. Nobody needs to do sports to strengthen their heart and circulation. Just 20 minutes of exercise in the fresh air a day can help you live a healthy life, whether it’s a walk, a short bike ride, or a few laps in the swimming pool.
Pay Attention To The Diet
Regularly fresh fruit and vegetables not only enrich the menu, they also taste good and, with their vitamins and trace elements, promote heart health and the immune system. A sedentary lifestyle and obesity are the most important risk factors for cardiovascular diseases. Living with a healthy heart means avoiding or reducing excess weight. Strict diets do not help. As a rule, they only lead to the yo-yo effect. What you lose in months with great abstinence is usually back on in a few weeks after the diet. Sustainable weight loss is especially successful if you change your diet so that you like to eat this way over the long term. A low-calorie mixed diet with lots of fresh regional and seasonal foods, preferably fruit and vegetables, is ideal. Even low-fat meat is not taboo – just in moderation. Whole grain products are a useful addition to the fresh menu. They make you feel full in the long term – and through dietary fiber and trace elements, they promote digestion as well as the metabolism and the immune system.
Check-Up Every Two Years
If you exercise enough, eat a healthy diet, and are of normal weight, the risk of heart attack, stroke, heart failure or high blood pressure is dramatically reduced. If you now have your family doctor checked you up every two years, the chances of a long, heart-healthy life are particularly good. Men and women from the age of 35 are also entitled to a check-up every 2 years with statutory health insurance. Among other things, you should have your blood lipid levels checked. Because elevated cholesterol levels can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. The main concern is atherosclerosis, which leads to constricted or brittle blood vessels. Do not postpone a visit to the doctor in the event of acute symptoms A heart-healthy life also includes going to the doctor in the event of heart or circulatory problems without a clearly identifiable or known cause.
Typical signs of cardiovascular disease are, for example:
- Pulse irregularities with no apparent cause
- recurring pain in the heart area
- unusual spells of dizziness
- inexplicable inefficiency
- decreased resilience
- pronounced fatigue
- shortness of breath
- increased sweating
- swollen legs
- severe weight gain for no explainable cause
The heart benefits from serenity – you too!
“This is dear to my heart” or “It breaks my heart” – we call the heart the seat of our feelings. Even if this is not anatomically correct (feelings arise through mental evaluations in the brain), these sentences show an important connection. Our heart is very sensitive to stress. No wonder: stress is a defense reaction that puts the body in a state of alarm. We drive at full throttle, so to speak – and even the best engine cannot withstand that in the long run. The most pleasant side of a healthy-hearted life looks like this: Let your legs – and your soul – dangle more often. Just do what you enjoy doing. So that you can enjoy your heart-healthy life to the full for a long time. And as at the beginning of this article, something that you have known for a long time with some certainty: Smoking and excessive alcohol consumption is harmful to the heart and health. Not that we are accused of forgetting.