This Tuesday is the European Day for the Prevention of Cardiovascular Risk, whose objective is to make the population aware of the importance of cardiovascular diseases and how we can influence risk factors. In fact, it is the number one cause of death in the world. In Spain, more than 300 people die from cardiovascular diseases.
Smoking, sedentary lifestyle, poor diet, obesity, hypertension or stress are some of the main elements that directly affect the health of our heart.
Stroke or heart attack are probably the best known cardiovascular diseases, but not the only ones. Kidney failure, blocked arteries in the legs or erectile dysfunction in men are also part of cardiovascular diseases.
O Dr. Ester Merinohead of the Unit for the Prevention of Cardiovascular Diseases and Cardiac Rehabilitation Olympia Quirónsalud, points out that they are caused by so-called risk factors that are mostly modifiable and with good control of them, we could achieve a reduction of up to 80% in risk suffering from cardiovascular disease.
Good nutrition and exercise
To achieve these percentages of risk reduction, the cardiologist advises not to lose sight of some habits that are necessary for them to become part of our lives, for example, following an adequate diet.
“Following a Mediterranean diet is all about including fresh foods and cutting back on processed foods or sauces. Eat legumes, vegetables, fruits, wholegrain products (bread, pasta and brown rice), fatty or white fish, eggs, raw or roasted nuts, extra olive oil. Bake on the grill, steam or in the oven”, he says.
For Dr. Esther Merino, it is also essential to do 150 minutes a week of moderate intensity aerobic physical activity or 75 minutes a week if the physical activity is of vigorous intensity.
“Maintaining an adequate weight not only prevents the development of cardiovascular diseases, but also helps to control or even eliminate other risk factors, such as high blood pressure, hypercholesterolemia, type 2 diabetes, etc.”, says the doctor.
Monitor glucose levels
Another important aspect to take into account is the control of glucose levels through blood tests, at least once a year.
“Regarding the sugar we consume in the diet, it is advisable not to exceed 20-25 grams of sugar per day. Control labels to identify hidden sugar in food (for example, in soft drinks or industrial juices) and thus be able to choose alternatives with less added sugar& rdquor;.
controlled blood pressure
In addition to everything that has already been mentioned, the specialist insists on regular monitoring of blood pressure, especially if we have a family history or associate other risk factors for cardiovascular diseases.
“We call the “normal-high” category & rdquor; for people with maximum blood pressure between 130-139 and/or minimum between 80-89 mmHg”. According to Dr. Merino, these people should be clinically evaluated, as in some cases guidelines can be given to correct the tension, some may be indicated to start treatment and others will need follow-up.
The specialist describes other factors that must be taken into account, such as controlling cholesterol levels, quitting smoking, not consuming alcohol in excess, stress, which increases heart rate and blood pressure, or a recent study in The One in which The Doctor. participated, points out that sleeping less than 6 hours is a risk for cardiovascular diseases.
Or poor oral health can lead to heart disease. “Periodontitis is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease, bleeding gums are often the first warning sign and should be evaluated so that treatment is carried out early.”
Check-ups to detect cardiovascular risk
Dr. Esther Merino explains that, currently, there are some programs that, combining interviews with explorations and exams (electrocardiogram, echocardiogram, analytics, etc.), allow a diagnosis of the current and future cardiac health of the patient.
“Estimating the risk of developing or recurring cardiovascular disease in the coming years, after which, if risk factors are detected to be corrected, it is advised whether any therapeutic or follow-up measures should be taken to have all these factors in the health goals personalized for each person & rdquor;.
These programs are aimed at people around 40 years of age, and especially if they already have risk factors or a history of heart attack or stroke in close family members, “and in this way we can prevent the development of cardiovascular diseases in many people”. concludes Dr. Esther Merino.