Heart disease has been the top cause of death around the world for over 15 years. Globally, heart disease accounts for 31% of all deaths, and in Africa, it is more prevalent than on any other continent.
Amongst the reasons why heart disease is higher in Africa are a higher prevalence of the risk factors for heart problems, and low awareness about heart disease and what contributes to it.
There are a few things that can increase your risk for heart disease. They are called risk factors. Some of them you can’t control, such as congenital problems or having rheumatic fever. But, there are some that you can control to lower the risk of heart disease.
Control your blood pressure
Exercise regularly, eat a low salt diet and limit alcoholic drinks to one or two per day. Get your blood pressure checked regularly.
Watch your cholesterol
Avoid foods that are high in fat, including red meat as well as processed foods such as pies and cakes. Get your cholesterol level checked regularly.
If you are overweight, take steps to lose weight by exercising and following a healthy diet.
Even moderate amounts of regular exercise can help your heart. Exercise helps to lower blood pressure as well as lose weight. You will feel good if you move more often too!
Reduce your sugar intake
Too much sugary food contributes to weight gain. You should also avoid sugar if you have diabetes, which is a risk factor for heart disease. If you aren’t sure if you have diabetes, you must get your blood sugar checked.
Cigarette smoking raises your blood pressure and puts you at higher risk for heart attack and stroke.
Limit your alcohol intake
Avoid drinking too much alcohol as it can raise your blood pressure and contributes to weight gain, which increase your risk of heart problems.
Manage your stress
Continued stress can eventually impact your heart. Read this advice for managing stress.