It is common knowledge that high blood pressure, obesity and bad cholesterol (LDL) spell doom for your heart. But there is yet another threat that many people are not aware of – inflammation. It negatively affects the health of your heart.
What is Inflammation?
When your body’s immune system detects an illness trying to set in or an injury, it triggers inflammation to eliminate germs and bacteria or other pathogens so that you can heal. So, in a way, inflammation keeps you alive – only if it is short-term.
If inflammation, even minor levels of it, persists too long, then it agitates those very arteries it was meant to protect and in turn may even trigger the development of plaque. It can even dislodge plaque from the artery walls and this can cause blood clots to form in the arteries, which will lead to strokes or heart attacks.
What should you do to prevent Inflammation?
It is easy to prevent inflammation. Actually, the measures you adopt to ward off inflammation serve the double benefit of controlling the other risk factors such as high blood pressure and cholesterol.
Doctors prefer to recommend a few lifestyle changes to prevent or reduce inflammation rather than make a person reliant on medicines.
Smoking exposes you to toxic chemicals and can be lethal for you. It damages not just your lungs but the arteries as well. Smoking causes the walls to lose their elasticity and harden. This is conducive to the development of plaque and triggers inflammation. Smoke activates and discharges inflammatory cells into your system and causes systematic inflammation. When you quit smoking, these harmful chemicals will no longer affect you.
Avoid fatty, greasy processed foods. Make sure your diet consists of plenty of fresh vegetables, fruits, nuts and seed.
A sure-fire way to prevent inflammation or lower its level is regular physical activity for 30-45 minutes. It does not even have to be a rigorous activity, but just enough to raise your heart rate and keep the blood pumping. Opt for cardio exercises such as brisk walking, running, cycling or swimming.
Extra fat around the hips in women and belly fat in men work as a magnet for inflammation. Exercise and a strict diet can help you achieve your weight goals.
Get Adequate Sleep
Sleep is vital for your heart health. Plenty of studies have proved that those who sleep soundly at night hours are less likely to develop inflammation and heart disorders.
Sustained inflammation can be dangerous for your heart. However, a few simple efforts on your part will eliminate the possibility of inflammation and contribute to a happy healthy life.