How to Prevent the Progression of Coronary Heart Disease

Coronary heart disease (CHD) is the leading cause of death in the United States. It develops when plaque starts building up inside the walls of the coronary arteries. Eventually, the plaque will collect to the point where it narrows the arteries, causing a restriction of the flow of oxygen-rich blood to the heart. Coronary heart disease can be without symptoms or cause anything from angina (transient chest pain) to a heart attack or even death.


Despite being the nation’s number one killer, CHD is something that takes years to develop and for most people, it is a disease that can be prevented just by making a few heart-healthy changes to their diet and lifestyle. Here are some of the natural ways you can help prevent the progression of coronary heart disease.


#1: Eat a Heart-Healthy Diet

Good health begins with your diet. By adjusting your diet to be more heart-healthy, you can start the process of reducing diet-related risk factors, like obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. Some things you will want to change include:

  • Eating more fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Eating foods high in fiber
  • Eat more foods containing Omega-3 Fatty Acids, like certain fish (for example, salmon, sardines, mackerel), walnuts, and flax seeds
  • Limit sugar, refined starches (for example, white bread, white rice), sodium, and alcohol in your diet
  • Limit foods with high levels of saturated fats and particularly trans fats

 How to Prevent the Progression of Coronary Heart Disease 


#2: Exercise

Exercise is one of the best things you can do for your health, especially your heart health, because practicing aerobic exercising naturally lowers your blood pressure, improves your cholesterol levels, and helps you lose weight. All three of these factors are essential for preventing the progression of heart disease, and they are all obtainable by working out for just 30 minutes per day. And, it can even be broken up into 10 minute bouts, for example, taking a brisk 10-minute stroll 3 times during the day.


#3: Stop (or Don’t Start) Smoking

Smoking is a major cause of coronary heart disease. In fact, approximately 20% of all deaths caused by heart disease are directly related to smoking. Studies show that people who smoke a pack of cigarettes a day have more than twice the risk of heart attack than non-smokers. Women who smoke and also take birth control pills are several times higher at risk of heart attack, stroke, and peripheral vascular disease than women who don’t smoke and take birth control pills.

Second-hand smoke also increases the risk of heart disease. Approximately 35,000 non-smokers die from heart disease each year because they were exposed to high levels of to tobacco smoke. So, if you’re not a smoker, then you will want to limit your exposure to second-hand smoke as well.


#4: Maintain a Healthy Weight

Ideally, a healthy body mass index (BMI) for an adult should be between 18.5 and 24.9. If your BMI is higher than 30, then you are at higher risk of developing hypertension, diabetes, abnormal cholesterol and yes, coronary heart disease.

Losing just 3% to 5% of your current weight will lower the triglyceride and glucose levels in your blood, thus helping reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes. Losing more than 5% of your weight will improve your blood pressure, lower your LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, and increase your HDL (“good”) cholesterol levels. Ideally, you should aim for a loss of 5 to 10% of your current weight (for example, 12-24 lbs if you weigh 240 lbs.) over the course of 6 months.


#5: Reduce Your Stress

Stress can accelerate your development of CHD because it elevates your blood pressure and heart rate, meaning your heart is working harder. This can cause your heart to experience an arrhythmia or even break open plaque in your coronary arteries, resulting in a heart attack.

Lowering your stress is essential for living your healthiest life. There are several options to help you achieve this, such as yoga or tai chi, meditation, deep breathing exercises, talking with a therapist, starting a new hobby, aromatherapy, massage, and daily exercise.



Prevent Coronary Heart Disease by Lowering Your Risk Factors

Once you have coronary heart disease, it is difficult but not impossible to reverse it. All of the suggestions above, plus cholesterol medications, can prevent heart disease and sometimes reverse it. Once present, it can also be treated successfully with various medicines, catheter procedures and/or surgery, but the best solution is to prevent yourself from getting it in the first place. It is attainable, and all it takes is a dedication to adopting the above five lifestyle changes in your life. They are the most effective ways for lowering the risk factors associated with the world’s deadliest disease.

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With more than 40-year years of experience in delivering wellness and weight loss programs, the Duke Diet and Fitness Center has established itself as one of the leading weight loss and total body health destinations for health conscious individuals seeking a residential style health program focused on natural weight loss.

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